The old Norton Aerodrome off Lightwood Lane, in Norton, was used as a barrage balloon station during the Second World War, helping to protect the city from attacks by the Luftwaffe.
The airfield closed in 1965 and the land was once earmarked for a third big hospital, to complement the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General, before being used from 2014 for driving lessons.
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Norton Lightwood Under 17s Driver Training Area, which gave thousands of young people their first taste of motoring on a series of specially designed routes there, was forced to vacate the site in 2019 – despite thousands of people signing a petition to keep it going there – due to what the landowner Sheffield Council described as ‘urgent health and safety issues’.
It has since become a fly-tipping hotspot, with the council having to install boulders at the gates last year to prevent people illegally dumping waste.
The go-ahead was given in 2019 to demolish the derelict old hangar, gatehouse and asbestos-riddled blockhouse at the fenced-off 44-acre site, which the council said had been plagued by vandalism and theft since the driving school’s departure.
But demolition work has only just begun, having been delayed due to the pandemic, and Danny Canz captured this incredible drone photo earlier this month showing the hangar roof partially removed.
A council spokeswoman said: “The reason for the delay to the demolition is that there were services and connections (gas and electric) to the building which needed to be capped and removed.
"Due to Covid etc, there has been a delay in getting those works undertaken by the utility providers. Now that has happened SCC is working with a contractor to complete the demolition. Options for the site are still being reviewed at the moment.”
In its heyday, 400 RAF personnel were based at the aerodrome.
Although the site had been disused for many years following its closure as an airfield, before briefly becoming a driver training centre, it is still remembered by some older residents for the Spitfire which used to be posted at the main gates.