Top Gear test track could become housing estate

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Plans to build 1,800 homes at Dunsfold Aerodrome have been approved by local council members.

The former World War Two airfield is the site of the Top Gear test track, with hangars on the site hosting the show's studio sections.

Waverley Borough Council's planning committee gave the go-ahead to the plans by a vote of 10 to eight.

The Aerodrome is considered appealing for property development as it is one of few open spaces in the Surrey area that is not in the greenbelt or the Surrey Hills area of outstanding natural beauty.

Those in favour of the development say that it will create jobs and affordable housing, while those against it say the homes are not needed.

Dunsfold Business Park, which is currently on the site, accommodates more than 100 businesses and employs more than 800 people.

Jim McAllister, Dunsfold Park chief executive, said: "The development of Dunsfold Aerodrome will provide homes for young families currently priced out of the area, direct development away from green fields, create new jobs and deliver a range of new community facilities and infrastructure improvements."

The aerodrome's demolition would be devastating for Top Gear, which has struggled to reinvent itself following Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May's departures last year.

The test track has provided the show with a controlled environment to test cars against the clock since 2002. This news provides a new challenge for the production team, which has been working against falling ratings with new presenters.