Calls for Mildenhall Air Show revival will be hit by security concerns at the US Air Force base
A bid to see the air show return to RAF Mildenhall has “no chance”, with heightened security meaning the US Air Force would never give it permission, it has been claimed.
The claim comes as an online campaign calling for the Air Fete’s return has seen a surge in support, with 2,000 people joining the Facebook page.
The leader of Forest Heath District Council, James Waters, has been pushing for one “last hurrah” air show before the USAF leave in four to seven years time.
However, former RAF Lakenheath postmaster and independent district council candidate John Smith has said that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, heightened security measures would never permit so many people on to the base at one time.
He said: “I used to be the English Postmaster on Lakenheath. Way back before 9/11 the USAF changed the base line security on all their overseas bases. his meant a much more enclosed community situation. Since then security has been heightened at various times.”
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“Even when there is no threat everyone entering a base would need a security pass and have all the appropriate checks carried out. The process takes about three months. Anyone without a pass has to be escorted at all times. Like everyone here I would love another air show.
“The USAF are not opening their bases to the public anywhere. There is absolutely no chance of an air show.”
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Mr Smith, who will stand for the Eriswell and the Rows ward this May, said the council needed to “think big, but get real”.
Mr Waters, who currently represents the ward Mr Smith hopes to contest, said hit back at Mr Smith’s “negativity”.
He said: “If people want to rubbish everything positive we are trying to do, they can. In his opinion he thinks it won’t happen, I have spoken to the commander of the US Air Force in Europe who has not dismissed the idea, in fact he personally supports it and will be pushing for one last hurrah at the base.
“The idea has a huge amount of support locally, but also from the Americans. They have done it in America when they have closed bases over there. If you take the approach of always looking for reasons why something won’t happen, nothing will ever happen.”
The Facebook campaign is called “Please organise one last RAF Mildenhall Air Show before the base closes”.