Mission Aviation Fellowship

Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre given notice to quit Newquay Airport

Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CACH) is being forced to close after the local Council decided not to renew its lease and told it to vacate its home base at Newquay Airport by the end of March 2023.

The centre is home to a number of rare historic aircraft, such as the RAF in-flight refuelling tanker the Vickers VC10K3, and the BAC 1-11, a former Royal Aircraft Establishment research and development aircraft, both of which are one of only two left in existence, and which are under threat of being scrapped if the closure goes ahead.

The centre 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. The opportunity to inspire and educate Cornwall’s future generations will be lost. Sixty dedicated veteran and retired volunteers will lose a vital part of their lives.”

Richard Spencer-Breeze, from the centre, said: “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 have given them nine proposals and asked them for the opportunity to sit down around a table to talk about this and we have been refused at every single juncture. 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.”

A Cornwall Council spokesperson speaking to Cornwall Live 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 and Cornwall Airport Newquay are not responsible for the operation of a private business and securing a site on which to operate is the responsibility of the management of the centre.”

“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. However, this remains the responsibility of the centre.”

CACH have started a petition to garner support for the centre, which at the time of writing had secured more than 19,500 signatures.



Author: FTN Editor

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