The former RAF Norton Aerodrome site 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.
At its height 400 airmen were based there but 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.
Norton Lightwood Under 17s Driver Training Area, which gave thousands of young drivers their first taste of motoring on a series of specially designed routes there, was forced to vacate the site last year – 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’.
The go-ahead has now been given 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
Sheffield Council said the buildings are set to be razed in the ‘near future’ but there are currently ‘no firm plans’ to regenerate the site, which is located within the Green Belt.
Deputy council leader Terry Fox said: “Last summer the council identified a number of health and safety concerns on the site. Despite attempts to secure the site and the buildings to prevent access, persistent vandalism made keeping safety measures in place, extremely difficult.
“For safety reasons the decision has been taken to demolish the buildings and demolition will take place in the near future. A number of options are currently being considered, however there are no firm plans for the site at this time.”
Although the site had been disused for many years following its closure as an airfield, it is still remembered by some older residents for the Spitfire which used to be posted at the main gates.