Welcome to Upper Lighthorne Parish Council
Upper Lighthorne is a civil parish in Warwickshire, England. It is located some six miles to the south east of Leamington Spa and is very close to the M40 motorway.
Brief History of Upper Lighthorne Parish
The village was originally built in 1942 to house the airmen and ground crews of RAF Gaydon, which was a training airfield for bomber crew and in particular navigators. It was also used for a short period for training glider pilots.
In 1954 the airfield was mothballed and reconstructed as a V bomber training station, the housing was extended with the construction of the officers’ quarters, the NAFFI (which later became the shop but has since been pulled down), children’s playgrounds and sports fields. The area was for a very short period called the Meadow to reflect its origin but was renamed Lighthorne Heath, to reflect its’ geographical location next to the old quarry that had returned to a natural environment that is now home to many crested newts and other species.
In 1955 the first V bomber landed at Gaydon and RAF Gaydon became home to the first operational V bomber squadron. It continued in many roles over the subsequent years, primarily training navigators until it finally closed as an operational airfield in October 1974.
In 1978 British Leyland acquired the site and created an automotive Research and Development Centre spearheading many international automotive development initiatives. The site now houses the Jaguar Heritage Centre, British Motor Museum and Jaguar Land Rover Development Centre.
Lighthorne Heath was partially mothballed during this period until Stratford-Upon-Avon District Council bought up most of the houses to accommodate the overspill from Stratford and other villages within the district. During this period the officers’ quarters where used to house American Airforce personnel, hence the nickname “the yanks” or “the American side”. It later provided shelter for refugees of the Ugandan conflict.
In 1978 the officers’ houses were sold off privately and the whole of Lighthorne Heath became part of Lighthorne Parish. This tie-up between our villages continued until 2003 when Lighthorne Heath became a Parish in its own right and developed into a vibrant and dynamic village building our own village hall, supporting a primary school, village shop and many village activities.
During this initial change the renaming of the Parish was often discussed with a view to reflecting the growth and changed status of the village, but it was never felt to be appropriate at that time. Since then, many plans have been put forward to develop the area, one of which was to build a Shakespeare theme park but the build of the M40 put an end to that idea!
In line with the need to develop housing for a growing population the Gaydon-Lighthorne Heath (GLH) scheme was drawn up for 3500 houses, including a shopping centre, school and other amenities. With the inclusion of Lighthorne Heath, this would create the biggest town outside of Stratford. The decision was taken that the only Parish which could support a development of this enormity was Lighthorne Heath. The first step was to increase our Parish boundary to encompass the area to be developed thereby trebling the size of the Parish.
The time was then right to rename the Parish, reflecting our changing circumstances and the need to look forward to the new future. In 2019, everyone on the electoral register was given the opportunity to choose the new name of the Parish from a shortlist selected from suggested names. The village voted for Upper Lighthorne as the new name for the Parish, which became legal on the 1st April 2020.
As a very new village and Parish we can expect some significant changes and the growing pains that sometimes come with that, but as a community we will encompass the positive and adapt in a constructive, supportive manner as we welcome all new residents to our community…something we have always done in the past.