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Historic fort to be preserved on Omega site


A HISTORIC remnant of the former US base at Burtonwood is to preserved in the heart of Warrington’s Omega development.
The Pickett-Hamilton fort is a scheduled ancient monument and was one of the few signs that the base had ever existed.
But it “disappeared” overnight to the horror of local residents.
Craig Vanrooy, a nearby resident and member of a re-enactment group which helps keep the memory of the base alive, said: “We were horrified when the fort disappeared. It looked as if it had either been dug up or bulldozed over.
“However, when we made enquiries we got some positive news – it has actually been moved and is to be preserved nearby.”
Steve Park, managing director of Warrington and Co, responded to residents’ concerns on behalf of developers Omega Warrington Ltd.
He said: “We now have planning permission/Scheduled Ancient Monument consent for the move from its current location. It will be situated directly adjacent to the new (adopted and lit) footpath and cycleway running down the eastern boundary of the Green Heart and as part of its translocation, we’ll be constructing a viewing area and interpretation boards.”
Only about 50 Pickett-Hamilton forts were built during World War 2 – mostly for the defence of airfields.
They were designed to be lowered into the ground when not in use so it would be inconspicuous and not interfere with taxiing aircraft and other vehicles. When needed, it could be raised to become an impediment to aircraft and vehicles and from where a crew of up to five men could fire with machine guns or rifles.
Although flooded, the Burtonwood fort was in good condition, with its machine guns mounts still in position prior to it being removed.
Pickett-Hamilton forts were often built in groups of three, so it is possible there are more still awaiting discovery on the Omega site.


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