Glasgow & West Scotland

Residents vote for RAF Machrihanish buyout

Campbeltown airport
Image caption Part of the former RAF base is used as Campbeltown airport

Plans for a community buy-out of one of Scotland's biggest cold war sites have come a big step closer.

Voters in South Kintyre have given near unanimous backing to the idea of allowing a community business to take over the site of RAF Machrihanish near Campbeltown.

With more than 97% in favour, it means the group can work on a business plan.

The Ministry of Defence is prepared to sell the 1,000 acre RAF site, including a 10,000 foot runway.

Since the military pulled out in the mid-90s, much of the site has been largely empty.

The people behind the community business hope the buyout could give them the opportunity to develop the site over time and create jobs.

Business plan

The alternative is for the Ministry of Defence to sell it commercially on the open market.

While there is no organised opposition to the proposed buyout, there are sceptics.

They either want to know more or question what the buyout will actually achieve.

The Machrihanish base was used to house one of only three US Navy Special Warfare teams in the world, as well as an American Seal commando unit and Royal Marines.

Highlands and Islands Airports leases part of the site for use as Campbeltown airport.

The day-to-day operation of the civil air terminal would not be affected by a buyout although the community group says it would like to work with Highlands and Islands Airports to attract more business.

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