£100m airfield plans revealed

THE official notice of a proposed £100million development of Woodbridge Airfield has been lodged with Suffolk Coastal District Council.A new barracks is set to be built for the Engineers Regiment of the 16 Air Assault Brigade that is based at the Colchester Garrison and that was created as part of the recent Strategic Defence Review.

THE official notice of a proposed £100million development of Woodbridge Airfield has been lodged with Suffolk Coastal District Council.

A new barracks is set to be built for the Engineers Regiment of the 16 Air Assault Brigade that is based at the Colchester Garrison and that was created as part of the recent Strategic Defence Review.

Cllr Ivan Jowers, chairman of the development control committee, said: "This is a major investment by the MoD in this district, with a suggested total price tag of £100 million, and it will have many significant implications for local people. However, as this is 'Crown' owned land and the planned development is by the Crown, this council has no formal control over the plans.

"However, we are a key consultee in the process and we will still treat it as if it was a normal planning application. We will seek the views of everyone who could be affected by these proposals, which will then be assessed and help formulate the council's response.


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"Suffolk Coastal, from its leader Cllr Ray Herring downwards, has worked closely with the Army to develop plans for Woodbridge Airfield that would benefit the area and meet their needs. I would thank the MoD for its willingness to take on board our views, particularly regarding safeguarding the local environment."

According to the MoD, the new barracks would result in a regimental compliment of 36 officers, 93 senior non-commissioned officers, and 507 members of other ranks.

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Married members of the regiment would be housed within existing MoD housing at the airfield, but single living accommodation will have to be built for 371 servicemen and women.

The planned development would also include offices, garages, workshops, stores and recreational facilities. The airfield itself will continue to be used for training purposes.

According to the MoD, 'disruption to the natural landscape will be kept to a minimum by extensive use of previously developed land'.

An Ecology Management Plan has been drawn up, and a Conservation Group will be established under the guidance of English Nature.

The MoD submission also states that 'local experts and interested parties will be invited to become members of the Group ...(which) will monitor the progress and management of the landscape and ecology areas, including the remainder of the airfield.'

"After our talks with the MoD there now appears to be extensive measures being proposed to protect and enhance the local environment, which I am sure most people will warmly welcome.

"The development would also see a welcome influx of children that will benefit local schools, while the economy around Woodbridge is bound to benefit during both the building stage and afterwards," added Cllr Jowers.

Suffolk Coastal will be consulting over the coming weeks, with a report being presented to the North Area Development Control Committee at either its February or March meeting.

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