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Communities invited to meetings to discuss RAF Mildenhall options

RAF MIldenhall'Copyright: Googleearth, DigitalGlobe, Getmapping plc, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky ANL-150801-112316001
RAF MIldenhall'Copyright: Googleearth, DigitalGlobe, Getmapping plc, Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky ANL-150801-112316001

Communities are being invited to a series of meetings to discuss options over the future of RAF Mildenhall.

Forest Heath District Council says the ‘time is right’ to hold the public engagement sessions after the Government announced plans earlier this year to release part of the 1,100 acre site for housing.

The United States Air Force is due to leave the airbase by 2022 and questions remain as to how the rest of the site will be used.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath, said although they don’t know how much of the site is to be released by the Ministry of Defence, there is ‘still the possibility of any number of options for its future’.

The authority would like to achieve a mix of new employment, housing, an improved skills sector and better local education.

Cllr Waters said: “We believe this is a prime site for business growth - a chance for Mildenhall to capitalise on the science and innovation sector spilling out of Cambridge, and to replace the local jobs that will be lost when the base closes.

“We held a series of very successful engagement sessions last year.

“Now,following both the MoD announcement and our discussions with the Government we believe the time is right to hold these meetings in our communities again to discuss not just people’s concerns, but the options for the future. We also hope to have an answer from the Government soon as to whether aviation use can be considered among these options.

“These meetings will help us as we continue the work with our communities and businesses on the one hand, and on the other partners including our MP, Suffolk County Council, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the USAF to ensure we are well placed to lead the site’s regeneration.”

Forest Heath says both RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath are collectively worth up to £700 million to the local economies.

The engagement sessions will be held on April 18, 6pm at Forest Heath District Council, in College Heath Road, Mildenhall; May 9, 6pm at the Jubilee Centre, in Mildenhall and May 13, 6pm at Beck Row Community Centre.

Booking is essential for the meetings and the public who wish to attend should email malag@westsuffolk.gov.uk