Decision on future of RAF Mildenhall site is unlikely to be made until 2016 at earliest

RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall

A decision on the future use of RAF Mildenhall which is earmarked for closure is unlikely to be made until next year at the earliest.

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said they had been ‘led to believe’ that an announcement about the future of the base could be made next month which they would have ‘preferred’.

However, the Ministry of Defence says that any decision on the future of the site will be made as part of an overall review of its estate - due to be completed next year.

The move was revealed at the third meeting of the Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth (MAM) Working Group, which also heard a timescale for the closure.

At the meeting, in Huntingdon, the USAF explained that there would be no changes in personnel numbers until 2019 and any hand-over of sites is unlikely before 2021-22.

The US Department of Defence announced in January that it would withdraw from its base at RAF Mildenhall and move to RAF Croughton the activities currently located at RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth.

Cllr Waters said: “While we had been led to believe that the MOD announcement could be made in September, and would have preferred that, I understand the mammoth task they are undertaking in terms of the MOD’s estates review.

“We will continue to work with the Government and the MOD to ensure the long term future of the RAF Mildenhall site is one that is beneficial to our local area and I remain optimistic that we have put forward a very strong argument to gain the support for improved infrastructure which will again bring long term benefits for our residents and businesses.”

A statement from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said the MOD will continue to work with local councils to ensure any decision takes into account local strategic planning issues. The group’s next meeting is in late October/early November.