Plea for land to be home of world-class museum

AN IMPASSIONED plea has been made for a council to consider using land for a world-class museum.

Illustrator Mike Jupp said his unique proposed tribute to the wartime airfield in Bognor Regis would attract visitors keen to experience life around D-Day.

But he said the venue needed a plot of land to enable him to secure the funding required to bring his idea to life.

His talks with Arun District Council showed a potential site on Chalcraft Lane, a few hundred yards from the site of the airfield.

The council, though, bought the land next to the road’s cemetery three years ago to extend the burial ground and wants to keep it for that purpose.

Mr Jupp said only public pressure would cause the council to change its mind.

His request for the support of Bognor Regis Civic Society was broadly backed at its meeting last Friday.

“If the people of Bognor want this to happen, it will happen. And it will happen before any of the other regeneration ideas which have come forward,” he said.

Civic society chairman Laurie Barnes said: “We are very enthusiastic about this project.”

Mr Jupp told the meeting: “My museum will use the best computer generated image artists in the world.

“You will be able to stand in the control tower and you will be transported back to June 1944.”

“There will be aircraft taking off and landing, a petrol bowser going past and the day-to-day activity of such an airfield.

“It was one of the most important airfields in Britain in the week before D-Day.

“It saw more aircraft flying out of it that week than any other airfield in the south of England, if not Britain.

“Their role was to back up the armies of fighters who were going off to Normandy by clearing the sky of the Luftwaffe.”

The modern technology would be achieved by using a pixaletted plastic sheet between layers of laminated glass in the control tower windows.

This plastic would be used to project images of the second world war activity at the site.

It was officially known as an advanced landing ground but Mr Jupp has dubbed it RAF Bognor.

“This is a world-beating museum,” he said.

“But it needs a piece of land and that’s where public support comes in. More people will be attracted to Bognor to see this museum than they would an extended cemetery.”

The airfield’s site north of Chalcraft Lane is farmland. Mr Jupp, who lives in North Bersted, originally wanted part of the site for his museum.

But it is heavily protected against development. Neither Arun nor Bersted councils want it built upon. A campaign was launched a few years ago to stop such a development.

The airfield was used by Norwegian, Belgian and Scottish squadrons of planes from Britain and the USA and built by Canadian troops. It was used from 1943-45.