First public meeting of airbases group to discuss economic growth in Forest Heath

Entrance to RAF Mildenhall. ENGANL00120130608144929
Entrance to RAF Mildenhall. ENGANL00120130608144929
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Economic growth will top the agenda of the first public meeting of the Mildenhall and Lakenheath Airbases Group (MALAG) next week.

The meeting next Friday, July 10, at Mildenhall’s Jubilee Centre will be given updates on studies into Forest Heath’s potential for economic growth.

It will hear the latest findings of an economic impact study and an A11 study, about how the district can capitalise on growth resulting from the £120m upgrade of the A11 between the Fiveways roundabout and Thetford.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, who will chair the meeting, said: “We know that there are opportunities ahead - opportunities that we are actively pursuing. We firmly believe that there is huge potential for jobs creation on the site and that potential fits perfectly into the Government’s One Public Estates programme, releasing land for economic regeneration, jobs, housing and infrastructure to underpin it all.

“We are in a strong position, working closely with key local partners which include among others Suffolk County Council, the LEPs, the USAF and the MOD. We are already influencing and ensuring that the voices of our local communities are heard at a national level.

“We expect to hear from the MOD in September whether it is to release the land or retain it for military use. Either way, we have been clear in our demands - the demands of our residents and businesses - that the site must not be mothballed.”

The MALAG meeting will take place at 10.30am and is open to the public. Matthew Hancock, West Suffolk MP will be in attendance, alongside representatives from Suffolk County Council, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Cllr Waters said the group plans to hold future meetings at various locations around the district.

He added: “We feel it is important that we continue to work with our communities, our residents and our businesses towards our common goal, achieving the best outcome for our area.”

The agenda will be published in advance of the meeting on www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/usafe.