Community must benefit from RAF Scampton closure

RAF Scampton is the current home of the Red Arrows. EMN-180724-114813001
RAF Scampton is the current home of the Red Arrows. EMN-180724-114813001

West Lindsey’s Scampton ward councillor says he believes the village can have a ‘positive future’ even if the proposed RAF base closure goes ahead.

Coun Roger Patterson has outlined what he would like to see happen, including facilities being handed over to the community, quarters offered for sale to locals first, and the base’s heritage assets preserved.

And Coun Patterson has asked MP Sir Edward Leigh to arrange a meeting with the secretary of state to put forward residents’ views.

He said: “I’m devastated by the news of the closure of the base and whilst lobbying for the Government to change its mind it’s prudent to look to the future if it does close.

“The most important thing is that RAF Scampton does not end up like Brookenby and Hemswell Cliff where profit and greed came before people.

“To that end I want to see the following: hangars one and two are preserved and handed to either the residents or West Lindsey District Council to house the museum of military firefighting and the present heritage museum and the grave of Guy Gibson’s dog. It’s imperative they continue.

“The shop, bar, community centre, gym and squash courts are given to the residents to run as a community asset.

“Annington Homes sell the remaining quarters to service personnel or local people first, then the wider West Lindsey Community.

“After that if new homes are to be built I’d like to see affordable homes with solar tiles as standard to alleviate fuel poverty, and a secondary school built as there is no capacity nearby.

“I’m delighted West Lindsey District Council have set up a task force to fight for the residents and get the best deal possible for everyone, and I’m delighted to be able to sit on it.

“I’ve asked Sir Edward Leigh, who’s always championed Scampton and the residents, to arrange a meeting after the recess with either the secretary of state or a Minister to put the views of the residents, of which I’m one, forward.

“I’m also aware of a number of job losses and I’d like to see plans in place to help those affected.

“I believe that together we can achieve a positive future for our community and make Scampton a blueprint for future decommissioning.”

The Ministry of Defence last month announced RAF Scampton was to be sold off as part of cost-cutting measures, with the Red Arrows relocating to another site.

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition against the move.