ABOVE: The museum is home to over 20 aircraft and thousands of exhibits
The Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CAHC) has received what it calls a “devastating blow” to its plans to relocate to a new site, with notice to remove all exhibits from the existing premises within just seven days.
The CAHC closed its doors “with heavy hearts and dismay” to the public in October, with its current site lease with Cornwall Council expiring at the end of March. However, proposals for a new adjacent ten-acre site –enabling “all of the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre’s Aircraft, exhibits and facilities to be transferred intact” – offered hope for the 20 airframes and thousands of exhibits in the current collection. Despite ongoing negotiations to remain trading at the current premises until December 2023 to raise funds and prepare the new site for relocation, this was “flatly refused” as of 24 March.
However, on 4 April, Cornwall Council formally advised the CAHC that it must clear the entire site within the following week, overriding plans for a scheduled meeting on 13 April to discuss storage options for “the more vulnerable indoor aircraft and heritage exhibits”. Any exhibits left onsite come 11 April now face an uncertain future, as the Council’s agent will “make arrangements for them to be disposed of”.
Describing the timescale as “completely impossible”, museum founder and director Richard Spencer-Breeze added: “We’ve fought so long, but we can’t go on like this any longer. This Council seems committed to seeing this museum close forever”.
“We found a new site after they turned down all our previous proposals, without even discussing them, we raised £1 million, we received the unequivocal support of every major education body in the county,” he added.
Pilot have reached out to Cornwall Council for comment.
An online petition in support of the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre has already surpassed 42,000 signatures, and can be found here.