Calls made for Lakenheath to become a new town

Lakenheath rail station. Picture: ARCHANT

Lakenheath rail station. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Calls for Lakenheath to become a new town to help meet growing demand for housing have been welcomed by one of the area’s most senior council chiefs.

It comes after Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman was talking in a Town and Village Plans debate at Westminster Hall, in London, where he identified the village for potential development.

In addition, he claimed Lakenheath has a lot of poverty and deprivation and is “aching” for investment.

Colin Noble, who lives in Lakenheath and is leader of Suffolk County Council and a district councillor, welcomed any plans to develop the village. But it would have to have the infrastructure in place to cater for the growth, he said.

“I welcome any debate about housing growth and Lakenheath is one of the largest villages in Suffolk with a sense of community but we need to talk about the infrastructure and we would need to talk to people about it becoming a town.”

He said £9million has been set aside for a second primary school in the village which is to be in Station Road and will open in 2019 as part of the Forest Heath District Council’s Local Plan.

“It’s a great place and it’s an exciting idea but we need to know what the impact would be,” he added.

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And West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock added: “There have been lots of plans for Lakenheath mentioned if and when the US Air Force leaves the base. The suggestion to make Lakenheath a new town from my colleague, George Freeman, is just one of many. All options are being looked at, and nothing has been ruled out.”

Mr Freeman said during the debate: “Given the housing demand in the south east of England, one might even say that every county could probably find somewhere to build a stunning new town. We could make our new towns the test beds of the modern-living technologies that we are developing in this country. If you said to me ‘Can you find a way in which we could build the houses that we need in East Anglia?’ the answer from my part of the world would be ‘absolutely’.

“Let us build a really serious new town, a proper new town, and design something that we could be really proud of. We might even have a couple. I will give a location for a new town in my patch. On the Cambridge-Norwich railway, where RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall sit adjacent.

“Lakenheath is a tiny town [sic] with a lot of poverty and deprivation on former peat that has gone to grade 3 clay. It is a town [sic] aching for investment. It is on that railway and would not be 25 minutes from Cambridge. We could build the most stunning town there and ease a lot of the pressure on our villages.”

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