Marshall Aerospace announced late yesterday that Central Bedfordshire Council had approved the company’s ‘Outline Planning Application’ (OPA) – this paving the way for the relocation of its UK Cambridge based headquarters to brand new facilities to be constructed at the large Cranfield University airfield site.
The approval of the OPA validates the general principles of site development for the uses proposed by Marshall and enables the business to begin detailed design work for the first phase of its development at Cranfield in preparation for a Reserved Matters planning application.
“Today’s decision is an exciting milestone in the relocation of our UK Aerospace headquarters,” said Marshall Group CEO Kathy Jenkins. “Central Bedfordshire Council’s planning team and Cranfield University have been invaluable partners and supporters of our shared vision for the future of our Aerospace business. “We are also very grateful to all the residents and representatives of local communities for their active engagement throughout the consultation process. As we work through the next level of detail with our partners and stakeholders, we will continue our dialogue with the local community to ensure we maximise the value of our presence in the region”.
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng, welcomed the news saying:
“The relocation of Marshall Aerospace to Cranfield University will bring to the region new opportunities for collaboration in research and innovation, as well as raising the aspiration for skills development. The new state of the-art facilities will complement our university capabilities, particularly our global research airport, and further our work with industry and government.” Once established in its new facility and running at capacity, the Aerospace business is expected to employ up to 1,200 people, many of whom will be involved in the skilled hands-on aircraft maintenance whilst other roles will cover a wide range of support and managerial areas. The company’s existing Cambridge Airport site has been put forward for inclusion in the Greater Cambridge Local Plan; however, Marshall will continue to maintain a strong presence in Cambridgeshire, operating a number of its businesses from the area
A reminder of what Marshalls Group Does In Regard of Aerospace and Defence
Marshall is an independent UK company with a diverse portfolio of businesses and a shared commitment to keeping our customers moving forward. Whether that’s supporting global armed forces to deliver mission-critical activities, keeping the UK distribution industry on the road, creating new, sustainable communities where people can live and thrive, or developing the next generations of industry talent – we are incredibly proud to have been building extraordinary futures since 1909.
The company is headquartered in Cambridge and currently employs around 2,000 people across locations in the UK, Northern Europe, North America and the UAE.
Marshall Aerospace is one of the largest independent aerospace and defence companies in the world – one that prides itself on delivering highly specialist innovation and excellence in engineering, support solutions and services on civil and military aircraft platforms.
Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, and with offices in Canada and in the United Arab Emirates and a global customer base. Marshall Aerospace specialises in the conversion, modification, maintenance and support of civil and military aircraft and the provision of personnel, training and technical advice. Marshall Aerospace is renowned and respected worldwide for quality of service, engineering excellence, flexibility and reliability.
Reasons For Move?
Marshall’s of Cambridge has operated on what is now the Cambridge Airport site for over 100 years. It has been a very successful operation but over the years Cambridge itself has rapidly expanded and while the private airport site was once quite a distance away the town has now encroached.
My understanding is that Marshalls who own and operate Cambridge Airport site and surrounding land intend to develop 12,000 homes and a new commercial park on the Cambridge Airport site by 2030.
The move from Cambridge to Cranfield which is expected to be complete by the end of the decade makes absolute sense and will see Marshalls Aerospace housed in very modern facilities and retain all the airport requirements needed for its aerospace activities.
Marshall was the first Lockheed Martin authorised C-130 service centre in the world, and it remains the only European centre of excellence authorised to service, support and maintain C-130J variants.
While it may well be Marshall’s long standing 57 year reputation for supporting the Royal Air Force C130 fleet of aircraft that has led to the company now successfully supporting dozens of other international air forces who use the C-130 aircraft capability around the world, with the MOD having decided to dispose of the UK fleet of C130 J’s when the last is retired in June, further opportunities could well open for Marshalls.
The UK decision has caused a degree of angst but with Germany and France having recently taken delivery of additional new C130-J’s and Lockheed Martin having no intention of ceasing production of this fine aircraft, Marshall’s can in my view only but further grow this activity in the years ahead as more customers acquire the aircraft and require ongoing maintenance and support.
CHW (London – 20th April 2023)
Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd,
M: +44 7710 779785