THE DESIGN stage for a multi-million pound aerospace centre in South Gloucestershire has taken off.

Focus Consultants and Purcell Architects have been appointed to draw up plans for Bristol Aerospace Centre which will be based at Filton Airfield.

Dedicated to aerospace, the heritage museum and learning centre will create a permanent home for Concorde and will also feature refurbished, listed World War One aircraft hangars, which will be transformed into a first-class heritage museum, learning suites, archives and workshops.

It will bring the Bristol Aero Collection together with a number of other important collections of artefacts and archives which tell the stories of the aerospace industry, its people and achievements since 1910 when Bristol entrepreneur Sir George White established the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company.

Last year the project, which is being run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, received a first round pass for a £4.4m bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

A number of major aerospace companies, including BAE Systems, Airbus and Rolls-Royce, have pledged support for the project, which it is estimated will cost £13.5 million.

Purcell, who completed a conservation management plan for the Filton Airfield site and was already appointed to refurbish the existing aircraft hangars, has now been appointed to design a brand new hangar to house Concorde following a design competition organised by Focus.

Steven Fletcher, partner at Focus, said: “Bristol Aerospace Centre will tell the story of the south west region’s world-class aerospace industry, and Focus Consultants is proud to be playing a part in that.

“Concorde has been beside the runway at Filton since landing there after its last flight ten years ago, but this project will give the world’s first supersonic passenger plane a permanent indoor home.”

Niall Phillips, head of design at Purcell, said: “Filton airfield has two historically important Grade II listed hangars which were built around 1918. They are currently in poor condition, but can easily be repaired and carefully converted into museum space which will show off many of the treasures from the Bristol Aerospace Collection in context and provide much needed facilities for learning and research."