Ministry of Defence to close RAF Halton base
RAF Halton is to be fully closed by 2022, under revised plans announced by the Ministry of Defence.
Earlier this year, the MoD announced the closure of the Volunteer Gliding Squadron at Halton as part of its Better Defence Estate strategy.
Now they have announced the closure of the base completely within six years, although they add that ‘the future location of lodger units on the airfield site is the subject of further work.’
The MoD have implemented the strategy in order to save £140million in running costs over the next ten years and to help deliver the 55,000 housing targets this Parliament.
Writing in this newspaper last week about the decision Aylesbury MP David Lidington said: “I can understand the RAF’s logic.
“All three armed services are consolidating their estate onto a smaller number of bases.
“And since officers and other ranks will serve together, why shouldn’t they all do their training at the same place?
“But there’s no getting away from the fact that his decision will be a heavy blow locally.
“We shall miss the civilian jobs that RAF Halton provides and the spending power that RAF personnel inject into the local economy.
“Closure will also leave a big gap in civic life.
“For a hundred years, the RAF have been an integral part of the local community not just in Halton village itself but in Aylesbury,Wendover and other nearby villages.
“I’ve told the Defence Secretary that I find the cost/benefit evidence for closure unconvincing.
“Last time this idea was examined, the MoD concluded that the cost of providing new facilities and accommodation at Cranwell would exceed the expected financial benefit from closing Halton.”
Mr Lidington added there were plenty of questions on the issue to be tackled in the years ahead concluding: “I’ve asked the MoD to provide much more evidence to justify their case and, if closure goesahead, to do all in their power to help civilian staff facing redundancy to find other work.”
It was reported that the MoD had started consultation with Aylesbury Vale District Council over their plans for RAF Halton.
However, a council spokesman told this newspaper that the MoD had not spoken to them formally about the matter.