Shropshire Star

Plans to convert former RAF sick quarters in Shropshire into rental housing

Plans have been submitted to convert a former RAF sick quarters in Shropshire into rental housing.

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The RAF sick quarters site near High Ercall. Picture: Google Maps.

The sick quarters were built in 1941 and consist of three buildings which are linked by corridors – the site also includes an air raid shelter.

The development was part of the RAF High Ercall airfield and is positioned on the B5063, Cotwall Road.

Change of use plans have been submitted to Telford & Wrekin to convert the buildings, currently used for agricultural storage, into four houses – which the applicant intends to rent out.

An historical assessment provided by Mark C Church, said that when the sick quarters were built in 1941 the ‘life expectancy’ was expected to be no more than 10 years.

“It is remarkable therefore that the buildings have survived as a whole, as a sick quarters complex,” said Mr Church’s report. “Although there are many examples of temporary brick buildings surviving at other former Second World War airfields, it is the assemblage of these buildings that provides an intrinsic value to the site.

“The only other similar former sick quarters site known to exist is owned by the National Trust at Croome Park, Worcestershire, which encompassed the former RAF Defford.

“He (the applicant) is keen to retain as much of the original character and features. For instance, he wishes to retain the water tower for aesthetic reasons and proposes to commemorate those who served at High Ercall, by naming the properties.

“Features which will not be retained, such as the connecting corridors, will through sympathetic landscaping, have their outlines retained, thus keeping alive the connection with the history of the site.

“It should be remembered the reason why this site exists today. Built during the early years of the Second World War, at this time the threat from Germany and its allies was all too real.”

The RAF High Ercall Sick Quarters buildings are not listed but are regarded as a ‘heritage asset’. The plans submitted are for one two-bedroom house and three further three-bedroom properties with two parking spaces created for each property.

Plans submitted include the intention for the current air-raid shelter to be turned into a bat roost by bricking up the feature with a small access hole remaining.

The planning document adds that the current building is of ‘sound construction’.

It adds: “The buildings are constructed in traditional materials and no substantial alterations are required to the structure to accommodate the proposals. The design to residential units in fact uses existing and historic openings; therefore, there is no requirement for any major structural alteration.

“The building is of permanent, substantial and sound construction.”

Comments on the application can be left on the Telford & Wrekin Council website, planning reference: TWC/2023/0308