Following winter flight delays at many UK airports, Harold Council has given the thumbs up for an all-weather cover at the ‘airstrip’ behind Church Road allotments. Eschewing technology used at sports venues, the allotment committee has taken a more straightforward approach.
“Of course, we looked at Wimbledon. The strawberries were good but the sliding roof would have cost about £13.6m; even with the Trevor Bayliss hand-wind version.” said committee spokesperson Frank Johnson.
“Anyway, allotment subs had already gone up by £4 this year so we plumped for something a little more affordable, keeping the ‘horticultural look’ of the area. In the end, we ordered heavy-duty polythene covers from Gardman Polytunnels. Funnily enough their ‘Jumbo’ range accommodates a 1930s Douglas Dakota DC3, with over a foot to spare at either wing tip, and might be safe with 25mm of snow and 30mph winds.”
Councillor Bob Crossley, Harold’s portfolio holder for transport, says Harold must now compete on a truly international basis, especially if HS2 gets the go ahead. “We could potentially lose out on passing trade at the service station forecourt shop but Polytunnels will give us the edge over places like Leighton Buzzard; stuck in the 19th Century with only a poxy narrow-gauge railway to boast about.”
The former WW2 airstrip is currently only used by Harold’s radio-controlled model flying club but Cllr Crossley explained “Starting small means they’ll practice flying ‘planes in and out through the Polytunnel door without any serious risk. Obviously, when they move onto the real thing, pilots will need to be a lot more careful because Polythene is expensive to repair. With the benefit of hindsight the double-door option might have been prudent.”
A trial scheme in Dunstable came to a premature end recently when a Harrier jump-jet unexpectedly departed with the entire cover.