Marshall Aerospace plans to leave Cambridge Airport base by 2030

Aeroplanes at Marshall in Cambridge
Image caption The Marshall Group of companies has an annual turnover of £2.5bn, while the Cambridge branch turnover is more £300m

An aviation company employing 2,000 people has announced plans to leave its base at Cambridge Airport.

Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group is planning to build 12,000 homes and five million sq ft of business premises at the airport and move by 2030.

New sites being considered are Duxford and Wyton in Cambridgeshire, and Cranfield in Bedfordshire.

Marshall said it hoped to support and retain its existing "valued and highly skilled workforce" throughout the move.

A spokesman said the company needed to invest in new facilities, and "the relocation, coupled with the development of our land in Cambridge, will provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to achieve this".

"The Cambridge Airport site can offer the 12,000 homes and commercial space, providing the jobs necessary to make the site sustainable," he added.

Image caption Aircraft maintenance is a major part of the work carried out by the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group engineers

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said he had received assurances Marshall would retain a presence in the city but was concerned about the impact on existing staff and jobs.

Mr Zeichner said the company, which was founded in 1909, had "played a central role in the city's economic and civic life for over a century".

He added: "We will need guarantees that homes will be affordable and built to high environmental standards, with genuinely sustainable transport solutions in place up-front."

Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert said: "Marshall have played a major role in the life of Cambridge for more than a century, and it is critical ... to see this business retained locally in the future whether it moves or stays where it is.

"The council will work closely with the company to explore and understand their plans for relocating most of their business, and for the potential redevelopment of the Cambridge Airport site."

The Unite union, which has 900 members at the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, said it was "very disappointed" and wanted urgent talks.

Regional officer Roger Dillon said: "We are talking about highly skilled engineering jobs that are part of the lifeblood of the vibrant Cambridge economy.

"Unite is very disappointed that we were not involved in the discussions prior to the announcement.

"While we appreciate the need for more housing in the Cambridge area, especially affordable housing, there has to be a balance struck with the need to preserve key engineering jobs."

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