Thursday, 15 September 2011

News - Lightning Scrapped (A1 Balderton)

A Newark area landmark — the Lightning aircraft next to the A1 — has been broken up for scrap.

The rare F.2A Lightning, XN728, had been at the side of the A1 near Balderton since the early 1980s.

It was based operationally at RAF Gutersloh, Germany.

During its early days at Twitch Farm, off Hollowdyke Lane, Newark Air Museum made several attempts to acquire what was then a relatively complete airframe, including the engine and canopy, to restore and exhibit.

Over the years it deteriorated and was vandalised, parts were stolen and it was heavily daubed in graffiti.

However, it also achieved iconic status, not just as a landmark for Newark seen by motorists on the A1 — it appeared in a music video and on T-shirts by designer Paul Smith.

A trustee at Newark Air Museum, Mr Howard Heeley, said: “Realistically it has been beyond saving for many years, and Newark Air Museum ceased its interest in possibly acquiring it many years ago.

“It became quite the icon and was popular on aviation forums.”

A dog walker saw the Lightning early on Friday but said it was gone by lunchtime.

“Millions of people must have driven past over the years and now no one will see it again,” he said.

“I am very upset that it has gone as I am sure many other people will be too. It was a local landmark.”

The Lightning’s wings and tail were broken off the fuselage and the parts were taken to Briggs Metals on Great North Road, Newark.

Briggs Metals said it had been offered the Lightning for its scrap value.

It was believed to be the first aircraft in its yard.

A spokesman said everything that could have been stripped from it had already been done so by thieves.

The aircraft would be crushed and sold to be melted and recycled.

In November last year the owner of Twitch Farm failed in a High Court battle for the right to go on using the site as a scrapyard for the dismantling of vehicles and sale of spare parts. The site must now be cleared.

Nottinghamshire County Council twice refused his applications for a certificate of lawful use and, in December 2007, issued two enforcement notices alleging a breach of planning control and unlawful change of use of the land.

A Government planning inspector dismissed an appeal against the enforcement notices and the High Court backed that decision.

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