Strong demand for family homes expected to continue despite closure of RAF Mildenhall

Will housing market be affected by RAF Mildenhall closure?

Will housing market be affected by RAF Mildenhall closure? - Credit: Gregg Brown

Demand for housing in Mildenhall is likely to remain strong beyond the US Air Force base’s closure, according to the leader of Forest Heath District Council.

RAF Mildenhall

RAF Mildenhall

The claims were made after a recent meeting between property developers, registered providers, letting agents and the council leader James Waters.

The workshop, hosted by Forest Heath, was designed to explore the impact of the RAF Mildenhall closure on the housing sector.

Mr Waters, who represents West Row on the council, said: “The clear message from this meeting was that despite the closure, Mildenhall, and Forest Heath as a whole, are expected to continue to see strong demand for homes, particularly from families.

“There will still be a need for more housing and employment, and more infrastructure to go with it – but in the short term there is also a need for more clarity and information from the Ministry of Defence on the future of the base.

“The housing professionals all backed Forest Heath’s push for a quick decision from the MoD as to whether the site will have a military future.

“We believe that there will be a bright future for the base, and our shared long-term vision for the site will become clearer over the months ahead, working with the local community, businesses and our partners.

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“There is still a lot of work to be done, but it was a very positive meeting.

“We have listened to the housing sector, and will next be meeting with business and community representatives in the coming weeks to further discuss the impacts and opportunities that the base closure will bring.

“The outcome of those discussions will be presented to the next meetings of the Government’s Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth Working Group.”

Rachel Wilcox, senior negotiator at Mildenhall-based Chilterns Estate Agents, said there was a great deal of uncertainty about what the market would be like after the closure.

She said: “It is a fairly hard question to answer as no one really knows what is going to happen.

“When they first announced the closure we had a lot of calls from landlords asking us ‘what does this mean’ and in honesty, we don’t really know.

“We don’t know what it (the base) is going to be used for after it closes.

“If anything we thought we might see a glut of rental properties coming up for sale.”

The base will close at the earliest in 2019, but could take up to seven years.

At the same time, RAF Lakenheath will be expanding to accommodate two squadrons of F-35 Lightning jets.

The EADT has launched the Fighting for Mildenhall campaign to make sure the town has a strong future. More details here.