6 April 2023
Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CAHC) says it has received a devastating blow to its plans to relocate to a new site: Cornwall Council insists the museum must vacate its current premises by the middle of next week.
CAHC says its new site will not be ready for at least 12 to 18 months, and the council’s ultimatum has left “the museum’s plans to relocate in tatters”.
On 4 April the Council formally advised CAHC it must clear the entire site and move thousands of valuable and vulnerable heritage exhibits by next Tuesday, 11 April, otherwise the Council’s agent will “make arrangements for them to be disposed of”.
Just a few mins ago @Newquay_Airport outside the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre where 25 or so volunteers are packing up items before it closes for good next Tuesday. @Flyer_Magazine pic.twitter.com/51MOrtC8xk
— Dave Calderwood (@DConflying) April 6, 2023
A statement from CAHC said:
“The museum was sure that they had fixed the threat to their future when local land-owner and businessman Rundle Weldhen offered a new site alongside the airport and entrepreneur philanthropist Mark Lancaster (SDL Ltd/SDL Foundation) pledged £1million for the relocation project.
“CAHC and Mark Lancaster were in negotiations to remain at the current premises and trade until December 2023 to raise additional funds and prepare the new site for the relocation project but, as of 24/3/23, this request was flatly refused – even though the airport and Council have not published any plans for the existing premises once they have been vacated by CAHC.”
Cornwall Council told FLYER:
“Cornwall Council and Cornwall Airport Newquay are not responsible for the operation of a private business. Securing a site on which to operate is the responsibility of the management of the Centre, as are any interim arrangements.
The Centre has had since October 2021 to finalise their plans to leave the site. In order to assist the centre, the Council extended their lease by a further 12 months in 2022, to the end of March 2023, for that purpose.
“Again, to assist the Centre with their move, the Council and Cornwall Airport Newquay have agreed to store several aircraft for free, leaving the museum to remove their smaller items. The Council has also provided support, guidance and input on planning, business plan development and applications for future funding.
“Cornwall Airport Newquay now has a new tenant for the site, which will also become part of the controlled security area, preventing public access and therefore CAHC’s ongoing operation.”
Museum founder and director Richard Spencer-Breeze said, “Clearing the site by the 11th April, over the Easter weekend is completely impossible.
“We only received notification that Mark Lancaster’s proposal for CAHC to trade until December had been refused 10 days ago and we immediately started the process of clearing the museum from the site, but this deadline is ridiculous.
“We’ve fought for so long, but we can’t go on like this any longer. This Council seems committed to seeing this museum close forever.”