Cambridgeshire

Derelict RAF Upwood site to be sold to developers

RAF Upwood Image copyright Peter Neal / Geograph
Image caption The former RAF Upwood has been ravaged by vandalism over the years

A former airfield in Cambridgeshire is to be razed to the ground and sold to developers 25 years after it closed.

RAF Upwood, near Ramsey, was shut by the Ministry of Defence in 1994, but attempts to develop the land failed to take off.

The airbase has played host to both British and American services and was the set of a 1953 Hollywood movie.

Owner Strawsons Property said it was close to a sale that would see hundreds of homes built.

RAF Upwood was built in 1917 for the Royal Flying Corps - before it became home to RAF squadrons and expanded from 1936.

Image copyright Richard Humphrey / Geograph
Image caption RAF Upwood was once a key base for World War Two squadrons

Much of the 1953 war film Appointment in London, starring Dirk Bogarde, was filmed there.

In 1981 the site became one of three in Cambridgeshire - along with RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth - to come under the control of the United States Air Force.

The prospective buyer for the redundant site has not been named.

Image copyright Peter Neal / Geograph
Image caption The MOD closed the site in 1995

Adrian Sail, of Strawsons, said the site had become vulnerable to vandalism and graffiti.

"When it was an operational airbase all these buildings would have been pristine, the grass cut neat and tidy, but clearly it has been empty now for over 20 years," he said.

"It is big enough to accommodate 450 houses which the Local Plan has allocated, and in due course these buildings will be demolished."

Alan James, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said creating housing on the site was a "good idea" but developers needed to consider the local community and infrastructure.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The derelict airfield lies between Peterborough and Cambridge

"The existing owner is being responsible regarding planning consent for 160 homes," he said, "but the 450 proposed in the Local Plan is quite a big increase".

In a statement, Huntingdonshire District Council said it hoped any development would "maintain the character of the historic RAF use".

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