Sunderland’s aircraft and vehicle museum is set to soar, says the new man at the helm.
Reports have been circulating that the North East Land, Sea and Air Museums, next to Nissan, was under threat from the development of the new International Advanced Manufacturing Park nearby.
The museums, made up of the North East Aircraft Museum and the Military Vehicle Museum, which moved from its former home in Newcastle, are based on the former Usworth airfield site, most of which was taken over by Nissan.
Comments have been circulating on social media that the site was under treat of closure, but new chairman David Harrison is confident it will be there for years to come.
“The current lease is due to run out in three years’ and we are in negotiations with Sunderland City Council about a new one,” he said.
“We have a letter from them sating that they want the site to remain open and go forward.
We will get that new lease, probably in the next 18 months, and will be open for years to come.David Harrison
“They want us to change a few things, but nothing onerous. What they don’t want is what looks a bit like a scrapyard on the edge of the Iamp.
“What they want to do is work with us to make sure we meet all their requirements.”
A new board has recently taken over and has exciting plans for the future: “I have taken over as chairman, we have a new vice-chairman and we are looking at bringing in people who have the expertise that we need to make it better.”
He believes the rumours about closure are a result of the on-going discussions about the lease.
“People have heard things and, because there has not been a lot of information, they have made things up. As far as the board is concerned, we are preparing to extend the existing lease and expand the site if we can.
“We will be doing a lot of work on the site to bring it in line with the council and make it a really good attraction.
“We will get that new lease, probably in the next 18 months, and will be open for years to come.”