Volunteers and directors at Britain’s oldest aviation museum in London Colney are jubilant after ambitious plans to build a large new million-pound hangar at the centre have been passed.

Hertsmere Borough Council approved plans, which will see the undercover display space at de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre nearly treble to replace the current small corrugated iron Robin Hangar, which is more than 80-years-old.

Ralph Steiner, operations director, said: "It is tremendous news. First and foremost the new hangar will enable us to get most of our vulnerable aircraft under cover.

"De Havilland produced aircraft from 1910 to the 1970s and we have some unique aircraft which it is crucially important are preserved for future generations to come and see.

"We have been developing our plans for several years and it is absolutely vital that we get more of these aircraft undercover, as they are not all made of metal and being exposed to the weather can lead to all kinds of damage and corrosion."

This announcement comes after Mr Steiner revealed that the Board of Trustees has decided that the centre at Salisbury Hall, will change its name to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum to reinforce its main purpose of restoring and displaying historic de Havilland aircraft.

The new hangar will have a mezzanine floor, an enhanced de Havilland information and educational area, workshops for restoration work, and a refreshments area.

It will dwarf the centre’s other, large hangar built some 30 years ago and will have a climate-controlled environment to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable and comfortable experience.

This is the second stage of the museum’s development plan and early last year a new Reception Foyer and Aeroshop was built at the centre.

De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre is the only museum where there are three examples of de Havilland’s "wooden wonder", the Mosquito fighter, bomber and prototype.

Mr Steiner said: "The Museum is anxious to upgrade its facilities and enhance what it offers to its many visitors, and we need to raise a further one million pounds to complete the building.

"Our aircraft are of course the focal point of the museum, but it is important that we provide good facilities for all visitors, families, enthusiasts and school and youth groups."

Mr Steiner added the museum is now looking for more volunteers to help run the museum as well as maintain and restore its aircraft.

For more information visit www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk.