Plan submitted for expanded aviation heritage museum

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum

A new museum could champion the pivotal role of RAF College Cranwell and the history and importance of aviation in North Kesteven and the county, if approved.

A planning application submitted this week details an expanded aviation museum with a café and educational space, which if given the go ahead would be developed by North Kesteven District Council to replace its current Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum near North Rauceby.

The application if approved would see the creation of the new museum through changing the use of an existing farm building which sits adjacent on site.

Previously the Carlight factory and currently an industrial unit, this farm building would be reimagined into a cutting-edge tourism and heritage destination marking the advances in aviation history made at RAF College Cranwell and by its servicemen and women past and present, while further cementing North Kesteven’s aviation heritage in the heart of Lincolnshire.

The building’s total footprint would be 6,700 sq ft, up from the current museum which measures around 1,800sq ft. In addition to bigger and improved exhibition spaces, the bespoke café and learning and conference facilities, there would also be dedicated retail space and car parking under the plan. These expanded facilities could help create additional jobs and volunteer roles.

An outdoor children’s play area would also be added, along with a new access road off Main Street which will help make the museum more visible from the A17 with submission of this signage to follow at a later date.

The new museum would incorporate use of green energy too and electric vehicle charging points, with the Council’s aim in mind for the District to be carbon neutral by 2030.

North Kesteven District Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said:

“The planning application if approved would see a much larger space made available to display aviation heritage in North Kesteven.

“The next steps will follow the usual planning application process that includes seeking views from various statutory and local consultees. Should the application need to be put forward for consideration by Planning Committee then I look forward to viewing it in more detail as a committee member.”

Delivery of it would be subject to securing funding opportunities. If the planning application submitted is approved, it would become an ‘oven ready’ project to be implemented when all funding is in place and a contractor secured through procurement for the works. When complete all current exhibits would be moved over from the current museum building and this then handed back to the owner.

As part of the project there would also be volunteer opportunities and chance to help shape the implementation of the new museum if approved.

In the meantime there’s much to enjoy now at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum, which is open from Friday to Mondays each week inclusive from 10am-3pm. A printed copy of the plans will also be held onsite for visitors to view, as well as being available on the Council’s planning portal.

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum portrays the fascinating story of the historic RAF College Cranwell, the world’s first air academy, from its early days as a Royal Naval Air Service base to the current day.

Visitors to the museum can enjoy family-friendly and interactive exhibits including a Jet Provost flight simulator, Vampire T11 Cockpit, exhibitions and artefacts, and a courtyard area with a Jet Provost aircraft to admire and take photos of. The museum’s mascot Charlie the Crane can be seen on boards and more around the museum to help guide younger visitors through all it offers.

There’s a shop with a range of themed gifts including locally crafted items, and refreshments available in a small café area. The museum runs a programme of exhibitions as well events suitable for all ages, in addition to hosting school and group visits and providing memory boxes on request for care homes and groups.

It's sustained by support from many including at RAF College Cranwell, the dedicated colleagues and volunteers who operate the museum and input into its exhibitions, and those with their own personal and family links to RAF College Cranwell reflected in its exhibits and have contributed to it through the years, as well as those who visit and enjoy it.

Find out more about the museum including its latest exhibitions and activities at

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