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New Site Building Plan (1)

Technical Information

Catalogue No: P0257
Picture Type: Framed Picture
Topic: Sites/Facilities
Title: New Site Building Plan (1)
Date: 2004
Width (mm): 0
Height (mm): 0
Copies: 1
Location: Main Store

In 2004 plans were drawn up for a radical extension and improvement to the Rochester site largely to the South of the Towers which were clearly to be kept. The plan does not show the Hangars which are still retained in an even more radical site development where the Towers are not kept. The plans are typical architects drawings with trees and grassy areas.

There have been a number of piecemeal additions to the Rochester site after a long period of stability with the Hangars and Assembly Shops together with a miscellany of buildings up at the South end of the Airport. The first major additions were in the early 60's when the three Towers were constructed and completed in 1966. At the same time the offices along the South side of the Assembly factory were made double storey. As the site expanded various sites around Rochester and Chatham were acquired such as the New Road Building for the research centre (FARL), a Training School at Hopewell Drive and a Drawing Office at Gads Hill in Gillingham.

The next new building was the Corsair Building named after the A-7 Corsair HUD programme which was opened in 1978 on the South side of the site. This was a largely prefabricated construction estimated to have a lifespan of some 15 years but it is still going strong. By 1980 the new Phase III Building dedicated to the growing business in flight controls was operating and finally on that strip the Falcon Building, for the growing research and development of diffractive optical elements, was completed in 1983.

As the site began to contract the outpost buildings were closed down and some considerable refurbishment was done on the main site. The Restaurant was developed into a modern facility and the Towers had significant improvements such as new windows and air-conditioning.

However the basic structure of the site is showing its age and in reality most of the buildings are not suitable for the modern era. The Hangars in particular are very expensive to maintain. An attempt was made in 2004 to plan for a glossy new factory complex but nothing came of that,  and more recently the site management has been looking at constructing a number of new buildings. The downturn in the UK economy due to the Covid issue will probably put this plan on hold.

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