Hangar where Concorde was built at risk after listing bid fails
A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of Concorde's birthplace – a massive hangar which sits next to the runway at Filton Airfield.
The Brabazon Hangar, which is big enough to park four jumbo jets inside, was used to build Concorde during the 1970s.
It was originally built for the construction of the Brabazon after the Second World War, a massive airliner with eight pairs of engines which was designed for non-stop flights to America but never commercially sold.
All of Britain's Concordes were built in the hangar and Concorde No 216, also known as Alpha Foxtrot, still stands on the apron outside.
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Campaigners who have been fighting to keep the airfield open asked English Heritage to list the hangar so that it would be regarded as architecturally important and would be protected from being pulled down.
But after an assessment by the national body, it has been decided the building, which has been empty for the past two years, should not be given listed status.
English Heritage says in a report: "The significance of both the Brabazon Mark I and Concorde in British aviation history is undisputed.
"Regrettably, however, this historic interest is not manifest in the Brabazon Hangar, a building which although notable for its great size is otherwise fairly unremarkable architecturally.
"There is a degree of interest some of the engineering solutions which were developed in order to respond to the challenges of creating a structure of this size, but they were developments of existing technology rather than solutions of real innovation.
"On balance, the degree of alteration and limited architectural interest of the building outweigh the historic interest of its association with two notable aircraft and the building should not be listed."
Airfield campaigner Paul Lee said: "It's just another kick in the teeth for Filton and our aviation heritage.
"My home is a listed building and apparently it's more significant than the Brabazon Hangar. I'm told what colour to paint my chimney, and yet when it comes to a unique building like the Brabazon Hangar, with history oozing out of it, nobody cares. That can't be right.
"We're losing our airfield, our cricket pitches and our ice rink. We'll be scrapping Concorde and the ss Great Britain next."
The fact that the hangar is not listed raises a question mark over what might happen to it in the future.
A spokeswoman for its owner, BAE Systems, said: "We regard the hangar as having a useful commercial future through change of use.
"It is actively being marketed today for manufacturing or distribution purposes.
"We have received a number of enquiries and is confident that a tenant or buyer will be found."
If a tenant or buyer was not found, the spokeswoman said: "The situation would be reviewed, taking into account many factors including the prevailing environment and economic climate at that time."
Some hangars and buildings at the airfield are Grade II listed. They include New Filton House, the Bristol Aeroplane Company offices which were built in 1936; a timber framework hangar built in 1917-18 and a triple hangar built in 1918.