£250,000 to help convert Greenham Control Tower into a visitor's centre
Greenham Common Control Tower is one of seven identical control towers built in the early 1950s, during the Korean War. The other six were located at fighter bases at Biggin Hill and North Weald, Brize Norton, Fairford and Upper Heyford, and at the Mildenhall tanker air base.
Since 1993, when the Greenham Common airbase was decommissioned, the control tower has been disused and as a result is still largely in its original state, which has resulted in Grade II listed status.
The building is in the middle of the now restored Greenham Common. After a long bidding process in 2013 West Berkshire Council agreed to sell the building to Greenham Parish Council for £100,000 under the Government's Community Right to Bid scheme.
£421,555 of funding for the project has come from the Community Assets and Services Fund managed by the Social Investment Business Group (SIB), in partnership with Locality on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government. Greenham Common Trust has also committed £250,000 towards the project. During 2014 substantial works were started to prepare the building for use as a Visitor's Centre, where the public can see both the historic past and learn about the present natural landscape of the Common.
The ground floor will comprise a café and public toilets. The first floor will include an interpretation area, with displays not only about the history of the Common but also about its wildlife and how to enjoy the Common without damaging valuable habitats.
The top floor, where once men sat directing planes landing and taking off during the Cold War, will be a viewing platform from which the panorama of the Common can be fully appreciated. The building will include facilities for the disabled and it is also hoped that some areas will be available for hire.
It is hoped that the Centre will be open by autumn 2015.