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RAF Mildenhall and RAF Barnham to be sold to pave the way for housing, defence minister announces

15:42 18 January 2016

RAF Mildenhall is due to close in four years.

RAF Mildenhall is due to close in four years.

The RAF airbase at Mildenhall and Barnham will be sold off and turned into housing, a defence minister has said.

Mark Lancaster made the announcement to the House of Commons after the US Air Force announced last year that it planned to leave the base by 2020, prompting fears about the impact on local businesses.

It is one of 12 Ministry of Defence sites which it plans to sell generating an estimated £500m for Treasury coffers.

It is unclear when the process of selling the site will start with US servicemen and women not set to leave until the end of the decade.

The commercial process would also mean that it would be up to a developer to finance the development and would have to secure planning permission from local authorities.

Between them, the 12 sites are expected to create land for about 15,000 new homes.

The 12 sites are part of a wave of sales which will see the MOD estate reduce by 30pc.

The MOD currently owns about 1pc of the UK land.

Mr Lancaster said: “By streamlining the Defence estate, we will ensure that it better meets the needs of the Armed Forces well into the future. Defence has the strongest incentive to become more efficient; with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defence budget to keep Britain safe.

“We are also making an important contribution of 55,000 homes to the wider Government housing targets (across all MoD sites). Every acre that we can free up will ensure that more people have the opportunity to own their own home.”

The 12 sites are:

•Kneller Hall in Twickenham

•Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon

•RAF sites Molesworth and Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, and Mildenhall in Suffolk.

•Lodge Hill in Kent

•Craigiehall in Edinburgh

•HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth

•Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire

•RAF Barnham in Suffolk

•MOD Felton in London

16 comments

  • Where will people work? These airbases were built in relatively (for a small island) remote places for obvious reasons. Replace them with houses = YES! the country needs houses but where willl they find employment that will enable them to pay rent mortgages?

    Report this comment

    Rob44

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

  • Houses... great news. Houses and infrastructure already in place... even better news. The article isn't so well written (mentions Banham, then gets all confused between different sites whilst simultaneously or mostly talking about Mildenhall, but we get the gist). I don't know why people are whinging - yes, the runway is good, but it's not practicable to shuttle planes back and forth from Stansted, Norwich, etc, to be serviced etc when it's all done on-site anyway. It would never be sustainable as an airport mainly due to its location. As a new town in its own right, yes - good road access and egress, it already has all the facilities needed, in fact many better than other local towns and villages. Schools, a doctor's, business units, etc - all are there, ready and waiting. And no NIMBYs to upset, no unsightly 'modern' crowded estate, drains and services already taken care of. It's a no-brainer.

    Report this comment

    Steveo

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

  • Mildenhall needs jobs, without jobs housebuilding will not work, nobody will buy houses they can't afford to buy, unless you want to get them into dependency and then throw them to the banking dogs, another bubble in the making, to burst soon after creation.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

  • Always more housing. We don't need more housing, just like we don't need more hospital staff, doctors, schools etc. What we actually need is less people. The country is like a bank account, you cannot continue taking out if you are not putting in. If we had less people, we would not need more and more housing. We would have more jobs. Better education with smaller classes. Better hospital treatment with less patients. The list is endless. Wake up Britain, put your foot down, get the Great back !

    Report this comment

    Openspace

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

  • apologies for double post!

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

  • Why not a new airport for London? why not look at it like Churchill did our Fleet in the 20s-that we might need the bases some day and ditching them is false economy? As Cyril points out, the only reason Mildenhall is an OK place to be for the current residents of the base is the facilities and work provided by the base.Maybe the noise puts off purchasers but I see empty properties at West Row and other villages when I am in the area and there are a number of To Let signs at Red Lodge. What happens when the new "noisemaker" planes arrive at Lakenheath ?What do prospective purchasers face-a commute to Cambridge or Bury or a good drive to access the rail link to London and a very small town to provide services. Red Lodge looks pretty, but what a dead eyed place to bring up kids, especially teenagers and Mildenhall is not much different. Maybe the facilities and work will follow, maybe industrial parks will spring up and look more attractive than Norwich, being closer to the Midlands...

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

  • Where's a Churchill when you want them, pointing out that although we may be on our uppers there could be a time when we need these airfields. What about the noise from the new planes they are going to base at lakenheath-which by all accounts are some of the noisiest there are. There are empty houses at West Row and other villages in the vicinity so buyers can't be that keen and I notice a good few To Let signs at Red Lodge when I drive through.Maybe it will be more desirable without the planes. Mildenhall is a one horse sort of town, only the faciities on the base made it tolerable for USAAF personnel one imagines. So are the residents going to commute to Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds or London via whatever rail link they can? This could draw industry away from Norwich if business parks are established along side the new housing.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Housing some time in the future whence developers can see healthy profits, that's six times of what they are spending to built the estates. Without such a margin they will not move a finger. Unless the MOD and or Government stipulates that housing land should be build upon within five years or face compulsory purchase, these large sites will be sitting empty for yanks.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Good to see they are going to build the huge amounts of much needed new housing close to centres of industry, and with good public transport links, so that the new residents won't have to rely on the overstretched and under-invested road network too much. Oh hang around.......

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Housing, ok, but where will the householders work, shop, see their doctor and their children go to school? Or would it be a dormitory for Cambridge? By the way Gareth Lewis, good point.

    Report this comment

    Mr. Raspberry

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Oh well never mind, it will be old news next week, at least there will be plenty of new housing with plenty of drainage!! Oh and by the way the Old RAF Bentwaters base still has the longest maintained runway in the UK.

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Yes MickB1 lots of housing and lots of jobs. Oh but didn't they say lots of jobs will be lost when Mildenhall goes?

    Report this comment

    JEN

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Much needed social housing and low cost starter homes for young people or gated communities with executive housing? The cynic in me is doubtful that it will be the former.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Gareth Lewis....its not runways we need, its housing...excellent news.

    Report this comment

    MickB1

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Always developers, why can the state not offer land leasehold to allow younger people to build their own property, or operate a lotisement scheme like they have in France where the state puts in the services then plots are sold to people who self build, it works fine in France, in England its always grab grab grab, Why can the housing market not be stabilised so ordinary people can afford a house of their own or if not at least have decent housing available at a reasonable rent, before long with all the reductions in benefits, the big increase in rents and the lack of housing, people will be living in cheap trailer parks or even tents, end of boom and bust brown said, but it seems to me Britain should be renamed boom and bust, we just seem to love it.

    Report this comment

    trev57

    Monday, January 18, 2016

  • What idiot made that decision? RAF Mildenhall has one of the longest, and probably the best surfaced and maintained runway's in the country and they want to dig it up for housing. Why did they not turn into an air cargofreight terminal and aircraft maintenance facility? It would have freed up both space and landingtake off slots at Luton, Stanstead and Heathrow, and allowed all 3 of them to expand their passenger capacity.

    Report this comment

    Gareth Lewis

    Monday, January 18, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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