South Glos councillors pledge £1.1 million towards Filton aerospace heritage centre

Concorde hangar at the proposed Bristol Aerospace Centre.

Ambitious plans for a new centre celebrating Filton’s aerospace heritage, and providing a permanent home for Concorde 216, have received a million-pound boost from South Gloucestershire councillors.

At a meeting of Full Council on 19th March, members pledged £1.1m to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust to help develop a new aerospace museum and learning centre on the site of Filton’s former airfield.

The centre will tell the story of the region’s world-class aerospace sector – past, present and future – and will house Concorde 216, which has been preserved at Filton since it made the last Concorde flight in 2003. A learning centre specialising in engineering, science and technology will also be provided on the site.

When complete, the centre will be a key part of Filton’s new Enterprise Area, a 120-acre employment location focused on the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors and offering unique investment and job creation potential.

The £1.1m contribution was approved as part of the council’s Capital Programme for 2014/15 to 2016/17. It is anticipated that the majority of the council’s support will be funded from increased business rates generated by the development of the Filton site, using funding arrangements set out in the recent City Region Deal.

In a joint statement, South Gloucestershire Council leaders Cllrs John Calway (Conservative), Ruth Davis (Liberal Democrat) and Andy Perkins (Labour) said:

“We have long supported plans for a dedicated centre to celebrate Filton’s aerospace heritage and provide a permanent home for the much-loved Concorde 216.”

“The area is the birthplace of the UK’s aerospace industry and remains an internationally-renowned centre of aviation excellence, hosting giants such as Rolls-Royce, Airbus and GKN.”

“The centre will help to safeguard this distinguished heritage for generations to come while also acting as a focus for exciting new developments, such as the Enterprise Area, which will help to secure Filton’s continued success into the future.”

“We are delighted to have been able to approve this significant contribution, and especially pleased that it can be funded by reinvesting business rates generated in the new Filton Enterprise Area.”

Iain Gray, Chair of Bristol Aero Collection Trust, welcomed the news, saying:

“I am delighted that South Gloucestershire Council has made this substantial contribution to the Bristol Aerospace Centre as it will make a huge difference to the project’s momentum.”

“I am also grateful for the council’s firm and determined support over the years, which has been fundamental to our continued progress. Like us, the council recognises the great importance of celebrating this region’s world-class aerospace industry, preserving Concorde for public display, and investing in learning and skills development, especially in science, engineering and technology.”

“Many organisations already share our vision and we look forward to others joining the funding of this immensely valuable project.”

Filton’s aerospace cluster is one of the largest employers in South Gloucestershire and a major contributor to the regional and national economy.

The council’s recently-adopted Core Strategy sets out its ambition to work with its partners to ensure that the aerospace industry in Filton and Patchway continues to be a leading industrial sector and major employer within the region.

Image: Artist’s impression of a new Concorde hangar at the proposed Bristol Aerospace Centre on the former Filton Airfield site. Designed by Purcell with project managers Focus consultants.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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