Vital decisions due on airbases’ future

PLANNERS are expecting to have to take strategic decisions soon about Huntingdonshire s three principal RAF bases following announcements which will reorganise the service. Huntingdonshire District Council is preparing a new planning document to look at h

PLANNERS are expecting to have to take strategic decisions soon about Huntingdonshire's three principal RAF bases following announcements which will reorganise the service.

Huntingdonshire District Council is preparing a new planning document to look at how to develop Brampton, Wyton and Alconbury.

"Effectively, Alconbury has been given back to this district to sort out," Councillor Nick Guyatt told HDC's cabinet on Thursday. "All three RAF bases will be included in a new planning document indicating how we think these sites should be dealt with."

The base at Brampton is expected to be closed by 2011, although the service housing on the site will be retained for personnel working at RAF Wyton.

At Wyton, following the RAF announcement that some people currently working there will be transferred to the south-west, Marshall Aerospace has shown an interest in the site. The base is one of the two sites - the other is RAF Mildenhall, in Suffolk - being considered by the aviation business when it moves out of Cambridge to make way for a huge house-building plan.

And Alconbury is still a complicated, ongoing issue. Planners have refused to sanction a proposal for 2,000-3,000 homes at RAF Alconbury, where Alconbury Development Limited has planning consent for a rail-connected freight terminal and an agreement in principle to buy the land from the Ministry of Defence.

Most Read

But the 78 conditions attached to the consent by the Deputy Prime Minister when he allowed the company's appeal against Huntingdonshire planners' refusal of permission for the terminal, make it virtually unbuildable. No building can be occupied before the rail link to the site has been constructed. This would cost hundreds of millions of pounds before any revenue is generated.

ADL may make a further application to the district council for a road-connected freight operation, but planners are unlikely to be sympathetic. They believe the infrastructure is inadequate and the impact on the Stukeleys would be intolerable.

ADL had proposed the homes plan as part of the East of England "spatial strategy". But Government inspectors, who reported earlier this month after a public inquiry, turned the idea down flat.

On Thursday the cabinet also agreed any new homes in Huntingdon - a total of 11,200 are planned for 2001-2021 - must be built within the ring road, making the A141 the urban boundary on the north side of the town.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter