Marshall eyes Wyton move

RAF Wyton, where thousands of jobs are at risk over the next five years, could become the home of Cambridge-based Marshall Aerospace. The firm is under pressure to quit its site near Teversham, next to Cambridge Airport, to make way for thousands of homes

RAF Wyton, where thousands of jobs are at risk over the next five years, could become the home of Cambridge-based Marshall Aerospace.

The firm is under pressure to quit its site near Teversham, next to Cambridge Airport, to make way for thousands of homes.

Two sites remain in the frame after six others were eliminated - Wyton, a wartime Pathfinder base, and RAF Mildenhall, in Suffolk, which has been used by the US Air Force for decades.

Although a move to Wyton would provide some economic benefits to Huntingdonshire to make up for the 1,000 or so families who will be lost from the local economy, the family-owned company is known to favour Mildenhall.


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Huntingdonshire District Council's cabinet is tomorrow (Thursday) expected to agree to sign a confidentiality agreement to give the authority access to the firm's short-term business plan.

This does not imply any particular advantage for the choice of Wyton as a new base. Forest Heath District Council, in Suffolk, will do the same in relation to Mildenhall. It will simply enable Marshall to make an informed relocation decision.

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Access to the business plan means the councils will be able to help the company make an informed decision about its new home.

Marshalls, which specialises in maintaining, re-equipping and modifying large airframes, recently won a multi-billion pound contract to upgrade Hercules military transport planes.

If a deal cannot be agreed on a price for the Cambridge site for housing, compulsory purchase powers could be used.

A move to Wyton would not be universally welcomed - for parts of St Ives and the Riptons, which thought they had seen an end to aircraft movements when RAF Canberras and Nimrods moved away some years ago, over-flying would return.

Although Marshalls would not generate the intensity of movements, the planes would be larger and heavier, if no more noisy than the older jets.

Developers of 300 homes at the western fringe of St Ives - at each side of Houghton Road - would be less than pleased by the potential impact on sales of houses so close to the flight path.

If Marshalls were to opt for a move to Wyton, the district council would be likely to insist the A141 were used for access and that the company paid for improvements to that road.

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