Builders will get ‘bomb training’ on Airfield Farm development

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Builders working on the Airfield Farm development, north-west of Market Harborough, will be given special training on what to do if they find an unexploded bomb.

The site covers a 140-acre section of the former RAF Market Harborough airbase, an Operational Training Unit airfield for Bomber Command during World War Two.

And though it’s considered unlikely that any bombs or other ammunition will have been left at the site, the World War Two link means it can not be ruled out.

A report prepared for developers William Davis by specialists Zetica Ltd said: “There is no positive evidence that UXO (unexploded ordinance) is present, but its occurrence cannot be totally discounted.”

The report said it would be “prudent to ensure that all staff have an awareness of the UXO hazard through the site induction process. This will ensure that appropriate action is taken in the event that a suspect item is uncovered.”

Zetica has consulted organisations ranging from the Ministry of Defence to local history groups to compile its report.

There are no records of the airfield being bombed during World War Two, and in fact only 83 bombs are recorded as falling across the whole Harborough district, a figure which is considered low.

The airfield had a two year life-opening in June 1943 and closing in June 1945.

But it did have extensive bomb and pyrotechnic stores, one of which was on the development site, and it also had bulk fuel stores.

In February 1945 a Wellington Bomber crashed very close to the site.

And it’s possible that a bomb dropped on or near the airfield but did not explode.

That could be buried up to nine metres below the surface, the Zetica report says.

Airfield Farm will eventually consist of up to 924 new homes, accessed from the B6047 Leicester Road by a new bridge across the Grand Union Canal.

There will also be a local centre with shops, a health centre, a primary school, a canal marina with a hotel, a country park, sports fields and allotments.

But no bombs. Almost certainly no bombs.