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Councils to meet Marshall team to discuss relocation and potential 12,000-home development in Cambridge

Council leaders say they will work closely with Marshall after the company announced plans to relocate its aerospace and defence business, and Cambridge Airport, which could pave the way for a development of 12,000 homes.

Cambridge Airport (10307513)
Cambridge Airport (10307513)

Promising that the public would have its chance to have a say, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council said their officers will meet with a team from Marshall in the coming week and in the months ahead to explore the historic family firm's plans and their implications.

Marshall confirmed on Tuesday that it was intending to move Marshall Aerospace Defence Group, which has secured a number of big contracts recently but is physically constrained on its current site off Newmarket Road.

It has earmarked Duxford or Wyton in Cambridgeshire, or Cranfield in Bedfordshire, as potential new locations for the company, with a move expected by 2030.

The move would be funded by the sale of Cambridge Airport land for development, with Marshall suggesting there is space for 12,000 homes and five million square feet of business and commercial space.

Marshall executives, from left, Richard Howe, Alex Dorrian, Sir Michael Marshall, Robert Marshall, and Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell
Marshall executives, from left, Richard Howe, Alex Dorrian, Sir Michael Marshall, Robert Marshall, and Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell

Marshall has put forward the land as a development site for consideration in the next local plan, which will cover the period from 2030, and on which the councils have begun preparatory work.

The family firm previously put forward the site for consideration for the last local plan, but withdrew it.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, the Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “The announcements by Marshall are of real significance for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, as Marshall have long been the largest engineering and aeronautics employer locally and a key driver of the local economy, including creating employment in dozens of other local firms. Marshall has played a major role in the life of Cambridge for more than a century, and it is critical to both councils to see this business retained locally in the future whether it moves or stays where it is.

“The councils will work closely with the company to explore and understand their plans for relocating most of their business, and for the potential redevelopment of the Cambridge Airport site on the edge of the city.

“The option of this site and others will be included in the dialogue with local residents on what they want from the next local plan, which needs to identify the most sustainable sites in the 2030s for badly-needed affordable homes and new workplaces and community facilities. All sites will need to be assessed for environmental and wider benefits, climate change impacts and overall quality, including critical transport links to the rest of the city and Greater Cambridge area.”

Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has contracts around the world
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has contracts around the world

Liberal Democrat Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, deputy leader and lead cabinet member for strategic planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Today’s announcement marks just the beginning of the conversation between the councils and Marshall. Marshall’s ambition to redevelop the current airport site will need to be thoroughly considered through our next local plan – which we see as the blueprint for the area’s development.

“With Duxford mentioned as one of three sites that the company is looking to relocate its existing staff and operations to, we are also keen to explore with Marshall and with local communities the impact and opportunities that this proposal presents.

“At this early stage there is no planning application and nothing formal to consider. But it is really positive to see recognition from Marshall even in this initial announcement that any development would need to feature ‘integrated, high-speed public transport connections’ for east Cambridge. It is factors like these, as well as the pressing need for affordable, energy-efficient homes, close to where people work, that we know are absolutely critical for residents and employers alike.”

A full public consultation on local plan objectives and site options will be held

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