Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre told to vacate Newquay Airport

Newquay airport
Cornwall Airport at Newquay, home for the Aviation Heritage Centre since 2015

The Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CAHC) at Newquay Airport has been given to the end of March next year to move off the site – and expects to have to close forever.

Cornwall Council, which owns the airport, wants to develop the land and has not renewed CAHC’s lease.

Among the aircraft at risk are:

  • Vickers VC10K3, a historic RAF in-flight refuelling tanker_and one of only two in existence
  • BAC 1-11, a former Royal Aircraft Establishment research and development aircraft and again, one of only two remaining
  • Vickers Varsity T1, a Cold War crew training aircraft
  • HS/Bae Nimrod XV232, one of four complete remaining.
EE Lightning CAHC

CAHC’s English Electric Lightning is just one of many classic aircraft at Newquay

CAHC said, “Cornwall Council committed to assist CAHC to relocate their operation but have since refused to make good on these commitments. For more than 10 months the council have refused to even discuss relocation proposals and funding sources.

“With no options for relocation and with Cornwall Council refusing to help, the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre, the only aerospace museum in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, will have to close forever.

“All of this amazing amenity and opportunity will be lost. Jobs will be destroyed. Valuable and historic aircraft of all sizes will have to be scrapped because of the prohibitive cost of road transport.”

When contacted by FLYER, Cornwall Council said, “Newquay Airport is an operational airport which is vital to the region’s connectivity to the UK. It is currently subsidised by the Cornish taxpayer and Cornwall Council is committed to develop the airport in a way which minimises this subsidy and continues to develop the site as a key part of Cornwall’s transport and business infrastructure.

“As part of this work, the council is reviewing the use of the land at the airport site to ensure the taxpayer is getting the maximum value for money from it and to increase the economic benefit and professional employment opportunities for Cornwall.

“Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CAHC) has been a tenant at Newquay Airport since 2015. They signed a disclaimer at that point acknowledging there was no right of renewal when its lease expired in 2021. However, in order to assist the centre to find a new site, the Council extended the lease by a further 12 months.

“Cornwall Council has made it clear to CAHC that we will consider assisting them to move to a new location when a credible, costed and deliverable proposal has been developed.”

Co-owner of CAHC, Richard Spencer-Breeze, told Cornwall Live, “It is awful, we have been fighting this vigorously for the last 10 months, but in reality we have been doing it for the last three years. We have tried every possible way to resolve this with no luck.

“It is totally ridiculous and unacceptable that Cornwall Council has refused to meet with us to find a solution and despite making a commitment in our original meeting to help us find a site to relocate to and funding for relocation we have nothing.

“We are going to have to close and scrap half the aircraft, if not more.

“The council owns 655 acres of land on this site, we only need six to 10 acres of that, that is all we need. We are not asking for a penny from them, we are happy to pay rent. It will not cost Cornwall Council a single penny for us to be here.”

CAHC has started a petition to Save the Centre here

CAHC petition

Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre


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