Lakenheath’s anger at Norfolk MP’s claim it suffers ‘poverty and deprivation’

George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk
George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk

A Norfolk MP has been called on to back up a statement he made in the Commons that Lakenheath has ‘a lot of poverty and deprivation’ so was ideal for a new town site.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman was speaking in a debate on how developers were using loopholes in district plan laws to get speculative planning permissions.

He told the House that when asked how new homes might be built in East Anglia, he replies: “Let us build a really serious new town.”

Mr Freeman, whose constituency does not include Lakenheath, added: “I will give a location for a new town in my patch. Lakenheath is a tiny town, with a lot of poverty and deprivation, on former peat that has gone to grade three clay.

“It is a town aching for investment. We could build the most stunning town there, possibly on the former airfield.”

Lakenheath Parish Council wrote to Mr Freeman: “The parish council would appreciate some clarification and proof as to your claims that the village has high levels of poverty and depravation and is aching for development.”

It says housing levels suggested in the district plan for Lakenheath have been questioned by planning inspectors and ridicules his use of ‘former airfield’. The USAF plans to bring more squadrons to RAF Lakenheath.

It ends: “Whilst appreciating that the views of parish councils and the communities they serve are of little importance to national government, it was nonetheless very disconcerting to learn of possible future development from an MP with no local involvement.”