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Hundreds of US Air Force staff to leave Mildenhall for Gloucestershire by 2023 as base prepares for closure

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Kc-135 Stratotanker at RAF Mildenhall (5469621)
Kc-135 Stratotanker at RAF Mildenhall (5469621)

US Air Force staff and their families will start leaving Mildenhall over the next five years as the town's base prepares for closure.

Last year the Americans delayed a decision to leave Mildenhall, and the Ministry of Defence said the closure would not happen until 2024.

But today the MoD said it has agreed 530 USAF personnel and 740 dependants will relocate to RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, by 2023.

A spokesman from the MoD said it would work with British personnel affected by the drawdown at the base.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “USAF personnel are our friends and neighbours and have been for decades.Therefore, we are used to the military moving personnel and units as the need requires.

"For example Forest Heath is soon to be home to the F35 and the thousands of personnel that support this aircraft. We are working closely with the MOD and USAF on the long term plans for Mildenhall for when it finally closes, and we understand that this relocation is part of that transition.

"In the meantime we continue to support all military personnel and their families in our area.”

RAF Mildenhall is estimated to contribute £200 million a year to the Suffolk economy. Government proposals for the site included up to 5,000 new homes.