Spitfire street name shot down in flames by “potty” council bosses

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A PLAN to name a road after the legendary Spitfire fighter has been shot down in flames by “potty” council chiefs.

Spitfires once flew from Montrose Air Station, Angus, which was the UK’s first ever military air base and celebrates its centenary next year.

The museum on the site wanted to mark the occasion by having a nearby road called Spitfire Way.

The decision to halt the naming was branded a “bloody farce”

 

But Angus Council has refused the request even though the road is in an industrial estate – and doesn’t have a name.

Town hall bureaucrats claimed local businesses would resent the cost – estimated at £200 – of putting up signs.

But at least three companies on the estate have backed the tribute and confirmed they were not even approached by the council.

Campaigners said it was a “bloody farce” that the aircraft and brave fliers who helped defeat Hitler could not be honoured.

The air station, based on what is now Broomfield Industrial estate, opened in 1913 as the UK’s first operational military airfield.

Some of the UK’s earliest fighter heroes with the Royal Flying Corps and the RAF trained there, including Squadron Leader Gerald “Stapme” Stapleton and Wing Commander Brendan Finucane, who both took part in the Battle of Britain.

Peter Davies, secretary of the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, is particularly angry because the council asked them to come up with a name for the nearby road.

But after suggesting “Spitfire Way”, the SNP-controlled council’s infrastructure services committee rejected the idea, claiming businesses on the unnamed road would face “significant” costs such as new stationery.

Mr Davies said: “All it is is two signposts which would cost around £200, nothing more.

“No-one has objected except one business.

“Everyone thinks it’s a bloody farce – they’re talking about it in the town.”

“I have never heard such nonsense that if an unnamed road has a new name it needs a new postcode.

He joked: “There are some people who think the council wants to call it Alex Salmond Way.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a political motive but it does make you wonder.”

 

“Ridiculous”

The museum’s membership secretary Neil Wernick said: “As a group we think they’re potty!”

Terry Beedie, manager of Howden Joinery in the estate, was one of at three firms to back the plan.

He said: “There’s not any cost to us. I’m a local guy born and bred and it would be great to have a bit of nostalgia.

“The council has never contacted us. It’s just red tape getting in the way as is so often the case.”

Retired Wing Commander Brian Thornton, chairman of the Scottish Saltire Aircrew Association, said: “I really cannot understand what the council’s objection would be.

“It strikes me as being a bit ridiculous.”

He added the generation of Spitfire pilots was “not going to be with us” much longer, adding it was important to preserve the aircraft’s heritage.

And a spokesman from Royal British Legion Scotland joined in the criticism.

“It is unfortunate that Angus Council feel unable to consider renaming the street outside Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre as Spitfire Way,” he said.

“The site is of considerable historical significance as the UK’s first airfield and it seems regrettable that cost appears to be the obstacle.

“The Royal British Legion Scotland hopes that a way can be found around this either now or in the near future.”

Independent councillor for Carnoustie on the committee, Brian Boyd, said he was uneasy about the scheme because of the council’s need for cutbacks.

He said: “When times are hard we shouldn’t be burdening companies with extra costs, and there are also financial implications for the council through the time of officials.

“I just feel we’ve got more to worry about and I don’t think we should go ahead with this.”

The heritage centre will proudly display a replica Spitfire next to the road next year.

It is home to several other historic aircraft including a replica Sopwith Camel and a Meteor, an early British jet aircraft.

Since Lieutenant Desmond Arthur’s fatal crash in September 1913, the site has also had several reports of the “Montrose ghost” seen around the area, sometimes wearing flying gear.

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