World class Aston Martin museum featuring James Bond cars to be built in Milton Keynes town

It will attract attract large numbers of tourists

By Sally Murrer
Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 3:13 pm

Plans to build a world class Aston Martin museum in Newport Pagnell have been given the go ahead.

MK Council has agreed to lease a chunk of land for free to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust so they can build the facility, which will have a strong James Bond influence.

As well as featuring historic Aston Martin cars and memorabilia, the museum will house the famous Bond cars.

Some of the Aston Martin Heritage collection

"As so many people associate Aston Martin with the James Bond films, the AMHT intends to work closely with Eon Productions: the producer of the Bond films. A gallery featuring Aston Martin cars in films and TV shows will be a permanent part of the museum to help maximise visitor engagement," said a spokesman for the Trust in documents to the council.

Newport Pagnell is the home of Aston Martin and the cars were produced there more than 50 years. The Aston Martin Works Service Department is still based in Tickford Street.

The museum will be built on land currently being used for allotments in London Road. The site is owned by Newport Pagnell Town Council.

There has been some local protest about the loss of the allotments, but the town council has pledged to provide more elsewhere in the town.

Sean Connery in the famous DB5

The car park for the museum will be on land at Lovat Meadow, a former caravan park that is owned by Milton Keynes Council.

This week MK Council's Cabinet member, Cllr Rob Middleton, agreed to grant the lease of the land for free to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, which has outgrown its current premises in a village near Oxford.

He told the Citizen: “I took a decision last night to enable the creation an exciting, new visitor attraction in Milton Keynes. The Aston Martin Museum will provide not only a hub for the history of Aston Martin, but will support learning through local schools, and engineering apprenticeships provided by Cranfield University.

"Given the huge evidenced social and cultural value of the proposal, the Council has decided to lease the land at nil value, which is in line with the Local Government Act.”

AMHT has developed a business plan to set out the proposals for the museum.

"The intention is the museum will be a world class museum similar in size and reputation to other prestige car marques such as Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes Benz," state council documents.

Initial funding will come from collectors and supporters worldwide, they say.

"The museum will focus resources on continuing links and collaborations with local education establishments - schools, university and college, and these will be rolled out as set out in the business plan... It will have classroom and lecture rooms to deliver its charitable objective for the advancement of education study and research relating to automotive engineering and design of the brand’s car marques," the documents add.

The educational and social benefits from the museum’s activities will include provision of teaching packs, support to apprenticeship schemes offered by Cranfield University and offering the University access to a centre of excellence for its world class automotive and business programmes.

Linking to higher education, the museum will also be on hand to demonstrate to school students that Science Technology Engineering and Mathematic subjects are exciting career options. It will have onsite resources for information on apprenticeships.

One of the biggest social benefits derived from the museum will be from offering an "exciting and inspiring" visitor attraction, states the business plan.

"The iconic world renown Aston Martin brand will offer cultural benefits by providing a place where visitors to the museum can explore and be inspired by the brand’s link with the popular James Bond character. There is also potential for local collections about Aston Martin to become part of this museum providing public access to local significant museum and archive material for the first time," it adds.

The economic benefits will come from local tourism, with both day and overnight visitors, direct and indirect employment and goods and services spend.

The business plan also concentrates on the James Bond connection, stating: "Aston Martin is now synonymous with secret agents and spies, developing that cultural icon into a global brand. The Aston Martin Museum will provide a place that will enable people to explore the collections, be inspired, learn, enjoy and embrace their inner James Bond."

The original Newport Pagnell Aston Martin site in Tickford Street was purchased by David Brown in 1954 and first used for building Aston Martin bodies. Full production at the site began in 1958 with the DB4, and since then nearly 13,000 cars have been produced at the factory.

Aston Martin ended production in Newport Pagnell in July 2007 when the final car, a Vanquish S Ultimate Edition, was driven off the production line by Ken Clarke, one of the longest serving employees and a test driver for the company.

Kingsley Riding-Felce, Aston Martin’s director of works service and customer relations, said at the time: “Although the day was tinged with sadness it was a celebration. It is important to remember that an Aston Martin is a car for life - it never dies and nor will the great achievements of the employees who have worked here over the fifty years. Although we say farewell to the buildings it is, the spirit of the people and the cars themselves that will live.”