Public art sculpture will be lasting memorial to Burtonwood Air Base


A PUBLIC art sculpture creating a lasting memorial to the role played by the Burtonwod Air Base during and after World War 2 looks set to be erected, if Warrington planning chiefs give approval.

Planning officers are recommending the Bolt of Lightning sculpture be approved on the first roundabout on Skyline Drive, Burtonwood.
Members of Warrington Borough Council’s development management committee will consider the proposal at their next meeting – and there have been no objections.
A representation of a Lockheed P-38F Lightning fighter, rising to the sky after a dive, leaving trails behind it, the sculpture will tower more than 22m in height and will be 6.5m wide.
The trails are supported by four independent columns on a large plinth, forming the base of the sculpture. The aircraft will be sculpted in stainless steel.
There will be a lighting scheme that keeps the base in darkness to give the impression the aircraft is floating above it.

More than 600 homes are being built, together with shops, a pub and hotel and the planning consent included an obligation to provide a piece of public art recognising the history of the Burtonwood Air Base.
It is proposed that the lighting shall be controlled solely by astronomical timeclock function which will operate automatically, based on the time of day , such as sunset and sunrise, geographic location and calendar date.
It will operate one hour before sunset until midnight.
Location of the sculpture was chosen because it can be seen from the M62 – part of which follows the line of Burtonwood’s main runway – local visibility and the ability to align the aircraft with the historic runways on the air base.
A viewing area, with information boards and benches, will be provided.
Planning officers believe the sculpture will create a local landmark, paying homage to the area’s history without any harm to highway safety or visual amenity.
It is hoped the sculpture can be erected in the autumn.

*Burtonwood Air Base was opened in January 1940 as a storage and servicing centre for the RAF. It was transferred to the US Army Air Force in 1942 and became the largest airfield in Europe. At one time, some 18,000 servicemen were stationed there.
In 1948-49, it played a major role in the Berlin Airlift to support the city’s population after the Soviet Union imposed a blockade. The USAF finally quit Burtonwood in 1965
although the US Army continued to have a presence in the 1970s.
The last parts of the base were demolished in 2009.

*The Lockheed P38 Lightning was the only US fighter in large-scale production throughout the whole time of America’s involvement in World War 2.

Memories of Burtonwood airbase


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