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Westcott Site Celebrates 70 Years as Home of Rocket Propulsion Research

Westcott veterans are hosting a day of celebrations to commemorate 70 years since it became the home of rocket propulsion research in the UK. They would like to welcome as many Westcott Rocket Propulsion veterans as possible to join in the activities, which are taking place on Saturday 9th April 2016.

Originally created as a base for training bomber crews and later a base for ex-prisoner reception in WWII, the 650-acre Westcott site became a Government Research Establishment known as a Guided Projectile Establishment on 1st April 1946 followed by other government departments.

The establishment at Westcott was the most significant location for rocket propulsion research, development and testing in the UK. Major missile propulsion programmes were developed such as the Blue Streak, Black Knight and the highly top-secret Chevaline but Westcott’s rockets have also been used for space missions such as that to Mars in the 1990s. Companies at Westcott continue to play a key role in providing rocket engines for interplanetary missions including the JUNO Mission and the Rosetta probe to name just two.

Britain’s leading think tank on space development The BIS (The British Interplanetary Society) will support the celebrations by showcasing rockets and equipment on the day, working in collaboration with Waltham Abbey.

For many years the Westcott site was regarded as so secret it was not marked on Ordnance Survey maps. The park has gone through various ownership and name changes and in 1987 control passed to the private sector when British Aerospace took over Royal Ordnance.

Over the years the park has developed into a major space production hub and despite being open to the wider business community, it remains at the forefront of liquid propellant rocket motor research and development. Now owned by Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust, Westcott Venture Park is home to a wealth of propulsion specialists including: Airborne Engineering, European Astrotech, Moog ISP UK, The Falcon Project and SSTL to name a few.

Rockspring has recently accelerated it’s investment in the park by developing Phase 1 of a new industrial development known as Century Court, as well as an estate road and gatehouse complex. The park is managed by Lambert Smith Hampton and is recognised as the largest business park in Buckinghamshire with over 75 business tenants employing over 500 people.

Nigel MacKenzie, project manager at Westcott Venture Park explains: “2016 marks a very special year for Westcott Venture Park as not only will we celebrate 70 years as a Guided Projectile Establishment but we are also looking forward to further development to deliver much needed premises for the business marketplace. We have secured planning consent for a new signature HQ building at the park and will be starting construction on Phase II of the highly successful Century Court development in the New Year.”

For further information or if you wish to join the celebrations please contact Di Hickman on 01296 770747 or Ed Andrews at Westcott Venture Park on 01296 651 888 or email eandrews@lsh.co.uk

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