The first phase of the multi-million-pound development and investment at Retford (Gamston) Airport by Thatcham Research marks an exciting new era for the site and surrounding area.
The ambition is to create a UK centre of excellence around vehicle technology testing and safety research that will attract future investment as well as employment and skills development in the area, while securing a long-term future for aviation.
The initial construction work started on 20 June 2022, with the first phase focused on ensuring the continued safe operation of aviation with upgrades to the main runway, markings and runway lighting, as well as development of part of the site for vehicle technology testing and safety research. Construction work is expected to be completed in September 2022.
During this period, the airport will be closed to all visiting aircraft. Businesses and private flyers based at Gamston will continue to be able to operate using an alternative runway.
Jonathan Hewett, Chief Executive at Thatcham Research, says: “We are extremely excited to begin to realise our ambition of creating a UK centre of excellence for vehicle technology research and safety assurance testing, as well as securing a long-term future for aviation at Gamston.
“We have ambitious plans around employment and skills development at Gamston. We will be looking to create 30 jobs in this first phase, through the recruitment of key engineering and support roles from across the area, as well as transferring some of our staff from Berkshire to Gamston.
“We are also exploring opportunities with Bassetlaw District Council on extending the training and skills development that we already undertake for the automotive repair industry, with more than 3,500 technicians and apprentices benefitting from our training every year.
“In terms of this phase of the construction, we’re doing all we can to ensure that it has limited impact on the local community, and are working closely with our contractors to minimise noise and disruption, as well as making sure that aviation can continue.”
Cllr Jo White, cabinet member for regeneration at Bassetlaw District Council, says: “I am very pleased to welcome Thatcham Research to Bassetlaw and I’m thrilled that they have chosen our district as a home for their new UK centre of excellence.
“Their presence and investment at Gamston will be a step-change for the area in terms of the new technology that Thatcham will bring, but also for the higher skilled employment opportunities that will be developed.
“This is the beginning of a partnership that will benefit Thatcham and Bassetlaw and I’m excited to see how this flourishes and develops over the coming months and years.”
Thatcham Research received planning permission from Bassetlaw District Council in August 2021 to develop Retford (Gamston) Airport as a dual operations site, and became owners of Gamston Aviation Limited (GAL) who run the airport in December 2021.