Expansion hope for Wisbech aviation museum

Fenland and West Norfolk Aircraft Preservation Society , Aviation Museum at West Walton, could be on the move in the future.'LtoR, Society members, Shirley De-Groome, Jim Paradine, Ken De-Groome, Ricahrd Mason, Fred Pearce, they are pictured with display items, an English Electric Lightning (from 1965) and the Hurricane. ANL-150215-094809009
Fenland and West Norfolk Aircraft Preservation Society , Aviation Museum at West Walton, could be on the move in the future.'LtoR, Society members, Shirley De-Groome, Jim Paradine, Ken De-Groome, Ricahrd Mason, Fred Pearce, they are pictured with display items, an English Electric Lightning (from 1965) and the Hurricane. ANL-150215-094809009

A museum could be expanding into a new purpose-built building if exciting plans come together.

Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum’s current site, at the Bamber Garden Centre in Lynn Road, Wisbech, is not large enough to showcase all of its exhibits and preserve its three aircraft.

But Wisbech Town Council has agreed in principle to lease an unused allotment site further along Lynn Road to keep this attraction in the town.

Members of the museum are planning to submit an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies to fund the new build, which could cost more than £300,000.

Museum chairman Jim Paradine said the project is at a very early stage but hopes it could attract more visitors.

He said: “It is an exciting and wonderful opportunity.

“This could give the museum a secure future and an opportunity to expand.”

The museum, which has been running since 1989, celebrates military and civil aviation, running from the First World War to modern aircraft.

Exhibits not only cover aircraft, but also tell the stories of the crews who manned them.

The museum archives are bulging with photographs, uniform and memorabilia, ranging from Second World War clothing patterns and models.

Visitors are able to admire close up a Lightning Fighter, Jet Provost and the cockpit of a Shackleton. Members are also renovating a Vampire.

The museum, which is open from March, also holds sections of aircraft such as Spitfires and Lancasters, along with a Blackburn Buccaneer and a MIIG 29.

The new building, which is yet to be designed and would require planning permission, could include a large exhibition space for its archives and planes, along with a research library and a cafeteria.

The town council, which agreed the lease in principle on Monday last week, will be applying to have the land de-classified.

Leader David Oliver said: “I heard a rumour that they were considering the possibility of moving away from the area and I don’t want us to lose amenities.

“It would definitely be a win-win situation for us as it keeps an attraction in Wisbech.”