RAF Mildenhall and RAF Barnham to be sold to pave the way for housing, defence minister announces

RAF Mildenhall is due to close in four years.

RAF Mildenhall is due to close in four years. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The RAF airbase at Mildenhall and Barnham will be sold off and turned into housing, a defence minister has said.

Mark Lancaster made the announcement to the House of Commons after the US Air Force announced last year that it planned to leave the base by 2020, prompting fears about the impact on local businesses.

It is one of 12 Ministry of Defence sites which it plans to sell generating an estimated £500m for Treasury coffers.

It is unclear when the process of selling the site will start with US servicemen and women not set to leave until the end of the decade.

The commercial process would also mean that it would be up to a developer to finance the development and would have to secure planning permission from local authorities.

Between them, the 12 sites are expected to create land for about 15,000 new homes.

The 12 sites are part of a wave of sales which will see the MOD estate reduce by 30pc.

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The MOD currently owns about 1pc of the UK land.

Mr Lancaster said: 'By streamlining the Defence estate, we will ensure that it better meets the needs of the Armed Forces well into the future. Defence has the strongest incentive to become more efficient; with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defence budget to keep Britain safe.

'We are also making an important contribution of 55,000 homes to the wider Government housing targets (across all MoD sites). Every acre that we can free up will ensure that more people have the opportunity to own their own home.'

The 12 sites are:

•Kneller Hall in Twickenham

•Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon

•RAF sites Molesworth and Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, and Mildenhall in Suffolk.

•Lodge Hill in Kent

•Craigiehall in Edinburgh

•HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth

•Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire

•RAF Barnham in Suffolk

•MOD Felton in London