Massive homes project in USAF scheme

A 600-HOME community the size of a Suffolk village will be demolished and then rebuilt as part of a $200 millionproject by the American air force.Hundreds of servicemen and women and their families from RAF Lakenheath will see their ageing homes, which were built soon after the Second World War, replaced with state-of-the-art houses designed for 21st Century living.

A 600-HOME community the size of a Suffolk village will be demolished and then rebuilt as part of a $200 millionproject by the American air force.

Hundreds of servicemen and women and their families from RAF Lakenheath will see their ageing homes, which were built soon after the Second World War, replaced with state-of-the-art houses designed for 21st Century living.

The plans to change the face of the Lord's Walk community at the base have been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The work, which includes new homes and roads, will form part of a five-year rolling programme and a spokesman for the USAF at Lakenheath base defended the cost - claiming renovating the homes would have been even more expensive.


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Lt Ed Ekpoudom (crrct) said: “At RAF Lakenheath, we want to provide adequate housing for our most important asset - our people.

“It would cost more to renovate the houses than to demolish them and rebuild. “We are going forward with the proposal and working with local councils to get the plans approved.

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“The houses were built in the 1940 and 1950s and they now don't meet Air Force standards. By demolishing and then putting up new houses, it will cost the Air Force less in the long run.”

The money will come from the USAF's defence budget for such work, which is believed to stand at around $120.5billion. The cash will allow the service to replace a tenth of its housing stock worldwide.

The work will be funded over a five-year period and base officials will have to re-apply for portions of the money every year.

The homes will also be built depending on the rank of the servicemen and women living there - with higher ranking officials like sergeants enjoying greater perks including an extra bathroom or bedroom.

Lt Ekpoudom said a firm decision had not yet been reached as to where families would stay during the demolition and replacement work.

But he added: “The Air Force strives to ensure our people have adequate housing and even in the interim period, we will be providing housing for servicemen and families. There are a variety of options - some on base and some off.

“The servicemen and their families are looking forward to having new homes although some of the work is a while off and it will not happen overnight. But from living in 1940s housing to brand new homes, there will be quite a difference.”

An application for 606 homes, estate roads, recreational facilities and secure perimeter fencing has now been submitted for land off Lord's Walk in the parish of Eriswell.

A spokeswoman for Forest Heath District Council, which has been asked to comment on the plans, said the application was initially submitted last year but a decision was deferred until in-depth studies were carried out.

The MoD closed Lord's Walk to non-military traffic in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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