Marshall preparing to relocate radar tower after residents’ outcry
Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) has confirmed at a Zoom meeting this afternoon its intention to relocate its new radar following concerns raised by a number of its closest neighbours.
Richard Howe, managing director at Marshall Group, told 40 residents who have been campaigning since the radar tower was installed in November: “We should have taken more representation on the visual impact but we didn’t and we are now correcting that.”
The company will now begin work to confirm the feasibility of moving the structure, a replacement for the airport’s current radar which is nearing the end of its effective lifecycle, to an alternative location within the airport boundary which is significantly further away from residents’ homes.
MADG chief executive Gary Moynehan said: “Whilst delivery of effective radar coverage is critical to the safe operation of Cambridge Airport, it is clear that we initially under-estimated the visual impact of the radar installation on local residents and we sincerely apologise for any distress this has caused.
“Having listened to their concerns, we took the necessary time to complete a thorough and independent review into the appropriate siting of the radar and its impact on the local community.
“We have now had the opportunity to review all aspects of the report and whilst it concluded that the current location is in fact optimum from an operational and safety perspective, it did highlight a potential alternative location which would reduce impact on any neighbours whilst still providing us the necessary level of coverage. We have, therefore, committed to pursuing the alternative location, subject to the completion of appropriate consultation with local authorities and residents.
“We hope that this news will provide our neighbours with peace of mind and that it will also go some way to rebuilding the trust and support that we have built up over so many years.”
The company is aiming to start work to move the radar as rapidly as possible following completion of the remaining elements of due diligence on the new location.
It has also confirmed that it will continue with the commissioning of the new radar on an interim basis to ensure that it has a viable back-up should its existing system suffer any long term operational issues.
The announcement at the 4pm Zoom meeting delighted the 40-odd residents who attended. Victor Stirling, aged 95, who lives closes to the tower, told Marshall executives and advisors: “As the oldest resident in Sunnyside – I’ve lived here since 1947 – I have always had cordial relations with Marshall and I feel this outcome is the most satisfying conclusion, and I’d like to thank you for your due diligence.”
The radar will be moved to Hanger 21, which is close to Marshall’s Mercedes dealership. A decision has not yet been made as to whether the move will require a new tower to be built.
“We’ll do the work we’ve done previously, and we’ll do it even more diligently,” said Mr Howe, “and we’re confident it will not have the impact of the previous decision.”
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