Planning permission has been granted for Veterans Garage, a facility for military veterans transitioning back to normal life, at the Barton Aerodrome in Eccles.
The project is based around the former terminal building at what was the UK’s first commercial airport, with Peel, which owns the still-operational City Airport and heliport, donating a long-term lease on the site. It will offer a supportive environment for veterans, many of them suffering from issues with drink or drug addictions or post-traumatic stress disorder.
At the heart of the scheme will be a focus on automotive repair work, giving veterans the chance to learn skills, but the overall aim is to reduce isolation and be a social hub – it includes a restaurant and games room, consultation rooms, a computer suite and vocational training spaces.
The project has been in the planning process for a year, with the scheme needing to be adjusted due to the building’s grade two-listed status. Not only does its listing mean work to the physical envelope is restricted, but the building’s functionality has to refer to its original use as an airport building. Elements of the scheme have been changed, so that it now features the retention of the original entrance, while there will also be a pilots lounge, along with a visitor centre with Barton memorabilia.
Sixtwo Architects donated its services to design the project, providing a “light touch” that preserves the historic fabric. Director Nick Moss said: “This is the first municipal airport terminal in the country, so in a heritage sense we should be protecting it, so let’s give it a fantastic use and bring it back to life. Who wouldn’t want to support this?” Moss said that the spaces are designed to be flexible.
The scheme features double-height barn buildings and original timber shutters, which will be retained. The buildings, visible from Liverpool Road, sit within a nine-acre site that can be used for car and motorbike events. Thousands of volunteer hours have already been put into clearance and preparatory work.
Pegasus worked on the planning application while the professional team also includes Dooley Associates and Struktura.
The project is the brainchild of brothers Jay and Dan Redshaw, Jay being a veteran himself. The revised version of the scheme secured consent at the beginning of November. The project is expected to be an 18-month programme and will cost an estimated £1.7m. There will be a phased construction, with work starting on the former terminal building first.