An Essex transport museum is under threat of being demolished for housing.
Home to 40 classics and restoration firm to be bulldozed for housing
An Essex transport museum and a vehicle restoration business face an uncertain future after planning permission is granted for houses to be built on the site of their historic premises.
The Great Yeldham Transport Collection has housed around 40 vehicles, from buses to 1990s classic cars in a wartime aircraft hangar originally sited at RAF Biggin Hill and once used by Spitfire aircraft. The building was dismantled and moved to Essex in the 1950s. The museum has been at Hunnable Industrial Estate, Great Yeldham for the past six years.
Collection chairman Tony Freeman reckons three months’ notice could be served at any moment. ‘Although the possibility of the site being used for housing is nothing new, the granting of permission to build comes as a shock,’ he says. ‘We are looking at other buildings but doubt we could afford any hangar like this.
‘Already the owners of some of the vehicles in our collection have transferred them elsewhere. We can’t blame them.’
Vehicle owners at the museum have often benefitted from the skills of MCV Engineering, also based at the site, and which maintains and restores classic cars.
The firm is run by father and son Alan and Anthony Brown. ‘We are very sad to have to move. We have an excellent relationship with the transport museum and do a lot of work for them as well as storing our own classics here,’ says Alan.
Julian Hunnable of site owner Hunnable Holdings was sympathetic with the museum’s plight but said the demolition had to take place. ‘To be honest, the rent being paid on the building isn’t covering its costs and I’m paying the council £8000 a month in business rates on empty buildings on this site,’ he explains. ‘This can’t go on.’
Julian was unable to say when the transport collection would have to leave the building, or when work on the housing development would begin.
Braintee Council has granted outline planning permission for 60 homes on part of the industrial estate site.