Terror attack fears lead to road closure
A ROAD at a Suffolk airbase has been deemed off limits as it is considered a potential target for terrorist car bombers.Lords Walk, at RAF Lakenheath was dubbed “an attractive target in the current terrorist campaign” by the Secretary of State for Transport.
A ROAD at a Suffolk airbase has been deemed off limits as it is considered a potential target for terrorist car bombers.
Lords Walk, at RAF Lakenheath was dubbed “an attractive target in the current terrorist campaign” by the Secretary of State for Transport.
The road, which runs through RAF Lakenheath, was closed to the public after the terror attacks on of September 11, 2001.
It was feared that terrorists could use Lords Walk to get within easy reach of the base, which houses thousands of US military personnel, and it has been off limits ever since.
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Following a planning inquiry held in July, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, has now decided to permanently close the road.
In documents released by GO East, Mr Darling endorses the findings of a planning inspector, and consequently orders the stopping up of the road.
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The documents state: “The Secretary of State agrees with the inspector that Lords Walk is an attractive target in the current terrorist campaign, because it would allow a terrorist with a car bomb to get within range of mass gathering areas.”
While members of Lakenheath Parish Council had previously voiced reservations about the necessity to close the road, council chairman Roger Crane said the council now accepted the decision.
He said: “It was a bit of a fait accompli, but the council considered the decision and accepted the inspector's findings, from a personal point of view it does seem like common sense.”
However, the move has not met with universal approval, and Grenville Dale, chairman of the nearby Beck Row Community Association, said the move could set a dangerous precedent.
He said: “There is a feeling of what next? They are building up to 270 homes in Beck Row for US personnel and there is a genuine worry that once these are built they too might be cordoned off, if they can close Lords Walk, why not somewhere else, where will it end?”
There had also been objections to the move from the Ramblers Association, who wanted an exception to be made to the road closure for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
However, Mr Darling was satisfied a public footpath detour, which was made after the road was first closed, was sufficient to accommodate ramblers.
He also concluded that the suggestion of individual security clearance for local residents would be impractical.