There are some people who can look upon Toyota’s Burnaston factory and say “I can remember when this was all fields” – and indeed, at one point, it was.
The factory was built on hundreds of acres of farmland next to the A38. The promised A50 came a few years later.
Putting together the land package for the Toyota development was no easy feat. A number of local authorities were involved in the campaign to persuade the Japanese car-maker to choose Derbyshire ahead of other UK sites.
A key element of the deal was to make sure the land package was in place. That task was left to Derby City Council.
This is the view today of Toyota’s Burnaston factory
But it was not easy. Negotiations with local landowners were tough as they tried to hold out for the best price.
Eventually, they managed to put together 300 acres, near to Burnaston, which Toyota took an option on.
But as well as open farmland, there were some notable landmarks that would have to make way – such as an airfield and a stately home.
Derby Airport, also known as Derby Municipal Airport, Burnaston Airport and during the Second World War as RAF Burnaston, was right in the firing line.
Burnaston Airport stood on the site where the Toyota factory is now
It had opened in 1938 as a commercial airport serving Derby. But the aim to develop it for commercial flights was cut short by the outbreak of the war.
After the war ended, commercial flights resumed until the 1960s when services were transferred to the newly-opened East Midlands Airport at Castle Donington.
But flying clubs continued to use the airfield, which became known as Burnaston Aerodrome. But after Toyota agreed to come to Derbyshire, in March, 1990, they had to make way for the construction of the plant and were relocated to another site near Egginton.
As well as the airfield, a significant building on the site was Burnaston House – also known as Burnaston Hall.
Burnaston Hall was dismantled to make way for the Toyota factory
In order to create the airport in the first place back in the 1930s, Derby Corporation acquired the Burnaston House estate for £21,500. The deal included Burnaston House, which was built in the 1820s.
When commercial flights were operating, it served as the airport’s terminal building. At one stage it had been set to be turned into a care home – then the Toyota project happened.
However, when it came to making way for the factory, Burnaston House wasn’t demolished.
Kevin Ellis, pictured in 1998, with all the pieces of Burnaston House
Instead, it was dismantled brick by brick and put into storage. The aim was to rebuild the property elsewhere.
That was the dream of Kevin Ellis, the man who had bought all of the parts of Burnaston House.
He made several attempts to secure planning permission to get his giant “jigsaw” reassembled. But was thwarted by planning authorities time and again. Today, Burnaston House remains unbuilt.
Source: Derby Telegraph