RAF Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth among MOD sites to be sold

RAF Mildenhall Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption RAF Mildenhall, used by the United States Air Force since the early 1950s, has 3,200 military personnel and 400-500 UK staff

The government has announced it will be selling off three RAF bases for housing once the United States Air Force vacates them.

The USAF announced last year that it would be pulling out of RAF Mildenhall, RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth by 2020-23.

The three bases are among 12 sites the MOD said it could sell for an estimated £500m.

The MOD said the 12 sites would provide land for 15,000 homes.

Ministry of Defence sites for sale

  • RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk
  • RAF Barnham, Suffolk
  • RAF Alconbury, Cambridgeshire
  • RAF Molesworth, Cambridgeshire
  • Kneller Hall, Twickenham
  • Claro and Deverell barracks, Ripon, North Yorkshire
  • Lodge Hill, Kent
  • Craigiehall, Edinburgh
  • HMS Nelson Wardroom, Portsmouth
  • Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire
  • MOD Felton, London

Source: MOD

Mark Lancaster, defence minister, told the House of Commons more detailed plans for each site would be released later this year.

He said: "Defence has the strongest incentive to become more efficient with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defence budget that keeps Britain safe.

"Every acre that we can free up will ensure more people have the opportunity to own their own home."

The USAF calculated the closure of RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, coupled with changes at neighbouring RAF Lakenheath, would see the loss of 2,900 local jobs.

After last year's announcement by the USAF, the Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth (MAM) Working Group was formed by local councils and business groups to look at future uses for the bases.

'Huge challenges'

Matthew Hancock, Conservative MP for West Suffolk and chairman of MAM, said: "This early decision by the government on the future of RAF Mildenhall is very good news and I am pleased there is a clear plan of action.

"Of course those affected and working on the base need to be supported through these changes and I will ensure this happens."

Alconbury and Molesworth provide about 1,500 civilian jobs.

Jason Abelwhite, Conservative leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "In terms of civilian jobs, it is some years away, so we've got plenty of time to think about it.

"Alconbury is in a growth area near Huntingdon, so that element doesn't present us with a great problem, but Molesworth would be a stand-alone, middle-of-nowhere, development which could bring huge, huge challenges."

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