Officers’ mess used by Dambusters given listed building status

The officers’ mess is at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire (Callum Parke/PA)
The officers’ mess is at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire (Callum Parke/PA)

The mess hall used by officers who led the famous Second World War Dambusters Raid has been designated as a listed building by Historic England.

The officers’ mess at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire has been designated as a Grade II listed building following an application by West Lindsey District Council (WLDC) in March.

Grade II listed buildings are deemed to be of special interest, with Historic England noting the quality of the building’s architecture, design and proportions, the council said.

The move recognises the building’s architectural and historical importance and means there are tighter controls over what changes can be made to its structure and interior.

An undated photo showing King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, outside the Officers' Mess at RAF Scampton (West Lindsey District Council/PA)
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, outside the Officers’ Mess at RAF Scampton (West Lindsey District Council/PA)

Councillor Trevor Young, leader of the council, said: “This recognition of the high degree of special historical interest, specifically the base’s role in some of the most famous actions of World War Two, is a really positive outcome for the site, particularly as there remains an element of uncertainty around its short-term future.

“Custodians of listed buildings hold a privileged position, having an important role to play in protecting the nation’s heritage for future generations.

“With that privilege comes a great responsibility to not only protect that asset but also ensure it has a sustainable future.

“It is hoped the Home Office will take these responsibilities seriously and afford the newly listed officers’ mess and the existing C-Type hangars the protection they deserve.”

The news comes as the Home Office is preparing to house 2,000 migrants on the former base.

The council has previously issued a stop notice on the department to prevent it from carrying out further preparatory works over what it deemed were breaches of planning controls.

But it has since said that it believes the Home Office is continuing to breach the notice.

The Government has given no firm date as to when migrants will arrive at the base, which was also previously home to the Red Arrows.

A judicial review will be held at the High Court on October 31 and November 1 following an application by WLDC opposing the plans, which have also attracted strong local opposition.

Sally Grindrod-Smith, director of planning and regeneration at West Lindsey District Council, said: “Officers at West Lindsey District Council have always been alive to the special nature of RAF Scampton, particularly the high esteem in which the nation holds the site.

“It is for that reason the council, on hearing of the proposed closure in 2018, has worked tirelessly during the last five years to try and secure a sustainable and appropriate use for the site once the MoD (Ministry of Defence) had left.

“Restoring the officers’ mess to its former glory is a key element of the £300 million investment plan announced earlier this year.

“The newly listed status of the building will provide an additional safeguard for another important building on the site, and for that we are grateful.”

The Home Office has been approached for comment.