Future of aviation museum is up in the air because of £148.5m bypass
- Credit: Archant © 2008
Trustees at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum have pledged the attraction will survive – despite the £148.5m Norwich northern distributor road being earmarked to pass through their site.
With the controversial road set to be built where historic aircraft are currently sited, talks about the Horsham St Faith-based museum's future have been held.
Norfolk County Council last week published details of more than 700 acres of land it will need to compulsorily purchase to enable the construction of the 12.5 mile road, stretching from the A1067 Fakenham Road in the west to the A47 at Postwick in the east.
And about half an acre of land at the aviation museum is required, which has left trustees planning for what will happen in the future - which could include a move.
Colin Kerrison, one of the trustees at the volunteer-run museum, said: 'We have been looking at the plans and the possibility of how it will affect us and there are going to be a number of options for us.
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'The interested parties know that our expectation is that we stay open to the public, with as little disruption as possible, but with a dual carriageway going to be built we know it is going to affect us at some point.
'At the very least we are going to have some aircraft to move, possibly temporarily or possibly permanently. We are considering what we will have to do at the moment, because we want to do it right.
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'We don't want to be moving these historic aircraft more than once if we can avoid it.'
Further talks over the museum's future are due in the months ahead, but with the possibility that work on the NDR could start later this year, Mr Kerrison acknowledged the clock is ticking.
He said: 'We are going to have to move pretty quickly. It's a case of how and where we move. Our aim is to come out of this in a good place.
'We know the museum has lots of support and is well respected and we are all working together to preserve it.'
The museum started out as an aviation enthusiasts group for members of the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company in 1977. Exhibits were originally sited on a runway at Norwich Airport.
By 1985, the museum had moved to its present site at Horsham St Faith. Planes on display include an Avro Vulcan B.2, a Hawker Hunter F.51 and a Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star..
Business leaders say the NDR is a potential £1.3bn shot in the arm for Norfolk's economy, while council leaders said it would create new homes and jobs, as well as speeding up traffic.
However, critics said it would lead to urban sprawl and pollution, while destroying the quality of life in rural villages.
What do you think of the northern distributor road? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.