Town leaders say Brandon and Thetford will feel impact of RAF Mildenhall closure

town photos of thetford town centre ENGANL00120110413150852
town photos of thetford town centre ENGANL00120110413150852
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Council leaders in Thetford and Brandon have expressed concerns about the impact of the closure of RAF Mildenhall - saying it may have ‘disastrous’ consequences for the area.

The USAF’s decision to withdaw from the base may have knock-on effects for the surrounding area, where some military personnel live and many supporting businesses are based.

Thetford Mayor Sylvia Armes

Thetford Mayor Sylvia Armes

Brandon Town Council chairman Reg Silvester said: “The military at Mildenhall and Lakenheath have been the industry in this area for a long time, and many people have spent their lives working there.

“I am sure once a new use is found for the base we will feel the knock-on effects, but immediately it is going to be very tough. It throws everything up in the air when you take such a huge industry out.

“There is an awful lot of work on that base for local people and a lot of business connections around Mildenhall with it. For jobs it is going to be disastrous.”

Cllr Silvester, who is also a Suffolk county councillor for Brandon, said the long period of time the USAF will take to leave the base and the addition of two squadrons at Lakenheath would ease the impact.

Thetford Mayor Sylvia Armes agreed Mildenhall and Lakenheath would be hit hardest, but believed there would be economic and social impacts for Thetford.

“It is another page in our history which will be turned over for a new era, which is quite disappointing,” she said.

“All the USAF personnel I have met have been ecstatic to come to this area, because we have so much history to offer.

“I think it will affect the housing market in Thetford, as some military personnel have homes here in the community. There are also a lot of local people employed on the base who I feel sorry for, because there are not currently the jobs available for them.”