An announcement on Newquay’s bid to become the UK’s space capital is expected within the next week or so, and local Councillors say their hopes are ‘sky high’. The announcement from the UK Space Agency of the successful sites had been delayed but it is now expected in May, and all indications are that it is good news for Newquay and Cornwall.
Newquay Councillor Paul Summers said: “Local Liberal Democrat councillors have been working with the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Aerohub Enterprise Zone and Goonhilly ground station, to make sure that Newquay Cornwall Airport has the best possible bid. With just days to go before the official announcement, it would appear that the incredibly strong case for the Spaceport to come to Cornwall has been recognised and that the lobbying by the Lib Dem led Cornwall Council, along with many, many others, has been ultimately successful.”
If successful, Newquay Spaceport could be launching satellites, and possibly space tourists, within five years. It will also provide a focus, along with the Aerohub and Goonhilly, for potentially thousands of highly skilled new local jobs as part of the UK's growing space industry.
Cllr Joanna Kenny said “Whilst we have not had a firm confirmation yet that Newquay will get the funding from the UK Space Agency, everything we have been hearing is positive. All the experts say that it’s a ‘no brainer’ that Newquay is the best place for a Spaceport. The only reason now that we won’t get it will be some weird government political decision. “
Cllr Geoff Brown said "We have been working tirelessly to try and bring the 21st Century to Cornwall and if successful the county will see further significant investment in much needed, well paid, highly skilled jobs, as is already happening with the latest space exploration project at Goonhilly. This week we saw £7.5m further investment in the Aerohub Business Park from the European Regional Development Fund and Cornwall Council, investment that will bring more high quality specialist employment to Newquay.”
The campaign for Newquay to host the UK’s Spaceport started in 2014 and was led by Newquay’s then Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert. The necessary legislation was passed in March this year and the UK Space Agency has been given £50m extra funding to develop the UK’s capability to launch satellites.