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RAF Mildenhall closure: Thetford and Brandon told not to panic

11:47 08 January 2015

A 100th ARW KC-135 based at RAF Mildenhallthe  U.S. Air Force base which is to close. Photograph Simon Parker

A 100th ARW KC-135 based at RAF Mildenhallthe U.S. Air Force base which is to close. Photograph Simon Parker

Archant

Leaders in the Thetford and Brandon communities have urged residents not to panic over the closure of RAF Mildenhall.

Reg Silvester, UKIP Suffolk county councillor for Brandon, said the closure would have an impact on the town, but the offset of more staff at RAF Lakenheath would offset much of the negative effects.

“It’s going to reduce the nunber of people in the Mildenhall and Lakenheath area more than here, so I suspect we will be okay.

“Hopefully the extra bodies at Lakenheath will support our town. The letting business has been on the wane for a while anyway as the base have wanted more staff living behind the wire.

“I think if Brandon is affected, we would feel a pinch for a year or two but we would survive it,” he said.

Sylvia Armes, mayor of Thetford, said the closure would have an impact on the housing rental market and on business.

“There are so many houses which are rented to personnel so there is bound to be some impact.

“Tourism is likely to be hit too as when people are posted here they love to visit the surrounding area and beyond,” she said.

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said it was awaiting confirmation from the base before making a full statement, but commented: “If these reports turn out to be true, then clearly it would mean huge changes for Forest Heath – but I firmly believe that every change brings opportunities and I would be optimistic that, given the strengths and resilience of our local community and West Suffolk, we can work with our partners to ensure we do the very best for people in Forest Heath and make the most of any new opportunities.”

Are you in the Thetford and Brandon area and think you’ll be impacted by the base closure? Call reporter Andrew Fitchett on 07584 503055.

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