Permanent home for Alpha Foxtrot
A NUMBER of readers have been expressing understandable concerns about the future of the Bristol-based Concorde and I am pleased to make this response.
The Bristol Aero Collection Trust, formed earlier this year through the merger of The Concorde Trust and Bristol Aero Collection, is working on plans for ensuring the long-term conservation and display of Concorde, along with an extensive collection of aerospace artefacts and archives.
We are currently preparing an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the creation of an aviation heritage museum and learning centre at Filton. We are grateful to all Trust members who are working so hard on this ambition.
The Trust is also in discussions with several major corporate stakeholders, including BAE Systems, regarding their support for the project, and we will be making a formal announcement in the coming months.
From mid-November, we will release an online survey asking members of the public for their views on what they would like to see included in the museum. Information on how to access the survey will be provided in due course.
We hope readers will support the project and our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, so we can inspire current and future generations through the presentation of Bristol's world- class aerospace industry.
Director, Bristol Aero Collection Trust
YOUR Say on Friday, October 26, carried several letters about our Concorde, Alpha Foxtrot, under the headline "Sad she has no proper home".
Many correspondents drew attention to the splendid housing Manchester has given their Concorde, Alpha Charlie. The letters eloquently expressed the feeling of shame and frustration felt by many of us... Yet, is this really a surprise?
Our Concorde sits alone and seemingly unloved just yards outside her womb but sadly that womb sits on land which the current owner, BAE, the descendant of BAC ( Bristol Aero Company), no longer manufacturing aeroplanes, claims it cannot operate profitably as an airfield.
Hence BAE are closing Filton, determined to destroy the airfield and sell it for housing and sheds. Even more sadly the land falls under the jurisdiction of a gleefully collaborative local authority based in Thornbury, a town not exactly renowned for its empathy with the City of Bristol.
That local authority based there is genetically related to the county of Gloucestershire, which co-incidentally houses Staverton Airport which, with the deliberate running down of Filton airfield, is frustratingly not just thriving but expanding almost by the day under its new name Gloucestershire International Airport. While this conspiracy unfolds before its very eyes, Bristol City Council, the moral guardians of the heritage of Bristol Aviation, appears to be sitting idly by, displaying all the characteristics of Rhett Butler and not giving a damn.
Let's hope our elected mayor is an independent person untainted by petty local party politics and of ability, substance and stature. Only such a person will truly be worthy of representing this once great city on the world stage.
Furthermore, such a person will likely have the skill and ideally charisma, to persuade the residents within the surrounding local authorities and the Government that a united region under a single mayoralty will generate the momentum to secure the future prosperity of our region for generations to come.
A region centred on Bristol not as at present by name only, but politically and economically as well. Such a person would have no difficulty in securing a home worthy of Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, long before she rots before our eyes as we look on, helpless and ashamed.