District council working to understand opportunities of RAF Lakenheath expansion

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News from the Bury Free Press
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Forest Heath District Council is to work with the USAF and other partners to gain a greater insight into the opportunities of RAF Lakenheath’s anticipated expansion.

The Pentagon announced last month that two squadrons of F-35s, along with 1,200 personnel, would be arriving at the airbase from 2020.

District council leader James Waters has stated his commitment to understand the time scale and potential impact of the expansion on the community.

“We have been swift to establish a lead role to ensure that our local communities and businesses have their say over the future of the Mildenhall site, and that the MoD, which owns the site, understands our desire for a quick decision,” he said.

“Now, we need to have detailed discussions to fully understand the growth proposed for Lakenheath, and the impact that this move may have on our local residents.”

Cllr Waters said he is ‘heavily involved’ with the Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth (MAM) Working Group, chaired by Matthew Hancock MP, which was set up to discuss the bases’ futures and had its first meeting on Friday, January 30.

On the same day the district council announced the dates of three meetings in February and March to discuss the closure’s impact on housing, businesses and communties in the area.

Cllr Waters said: “Amid all of this, however, the potential impact of the RAF Lakenheath expansion has not been forgotten.

“We will be seeking discussions with the USAF, Suffolk County Council who are responsible for schools and highways, and some of our other close partners over the coming months, to allow us to work with our communities in readiness for any change this expansion may bring.”