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Farnborough wind tunnels deal becomes clearer - images

Further details of plans to save Farnborough's historic Grade I-listed wind tunnels have emerged.

Slough Estates, the owner of the site - the former Royal Aeronautical Establishment - has sold the land surrounding the tunnels to housebuilder Redrow.

As part of the deal, Redrow has vowed to refurbish the two buildings that house the tunnels.

The largest, which has a 7m span, was used to test full-sized aircraft prototypes, while the transonic wind tunnel was used to test aircraft including Concorde.

The residential scheme, which has just been submitted for planning, is being undertaken by RPA Architects and will involve the construction of 560 new homes.

This deal brings nearer an end to a row, which has been running for several years, over the future of the historic site.

Back in 2001, it emerged that many of the potential developers for the 'brownfield site' were determined to knock down much of the historic fabric.

But Redrow's managing director Stuart Rowlands now seems enthused by the unusual elements of the site.

'We propose a range of new-build houses and apartments that have been designed to complement the retained properties, together with the refurbishment of two existing buildings,' he said.

'This will be a flagship scheme for Redrow, and very important for the regeneration and growth of Farnborough itself, complementing ongoing schemes such as the revitalisation of the town centre.'

by Ed Dorrell

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