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County council leader says RAF Mildenhall closure a “severe blow” to region’s economy

15:26 08 January 2015

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs at The Forum in Norwich.

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs at The Forum in Norwich.

Archant © 2008

The leader of Norfolk County Council has described the closure of RAF Mildenhall as a “severe blow to the whole East Anglian economy”.

George Nobbs, Labour leader of the council, commented after the Pentagon confirmed this afternoon that the Suffolk base will shut following a two-year review.

• RAF Mildenhall closure: US Defense boss says it can do the same job for less

• Update: RAF Mildenhall to close as Pentagon reveals plans to move assets to Germany

He said: “There is no point pretending that this is anything other than a severe blow to the whole East Anglian economy.

“The local community will try to fill the economic gap over the years because they are resilient, but more than the economic impact this will cut a tie that goes back to the Second World War.”

South West Norfolk MP, Elizabeth Truss also commented on the news, saying she understood residents’ concerns.

“We have a long established relationship with the US military in this region and I know my colleague Matthew Hancock, the MP for Mildenhall, is creating the Mildenhall Working Group to ensure the local community is fully consulted and explore all the future options.

“I do understand that uncertainty can be a concern for residents and businesses, however the local economy is extremely resilient and I will support business, fellow MPs and councils during the transition period,” she said.

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said the area would “rise to the challenges” following the news.

He said: “We have enjoyed a strong relationship over the years with the American Air Force and are delighted that this is to continue.

“The USAFE contributes significantly to the local economy so the expansion of RAF Lakenheath, and with it the U.S. Government’s commitment to the site as part of its long term plans, is very welcome news. But this happiness is obviously tempered by our sadness that Mildenhall is to close.

“Both announcements mean huge changes to the landscape of Forest Heath – but I am optimistic that with every change there are opportunities for reinvention, growth and investment.

“We will look to ensure not only that these opportunities are taken, but that any future plans for the bases are the right ones for the people of Forest Heath,” he said.

7 comments

  • How exactly is Truss going to support businesses then ?. By reducing business rates and reducing utility bills, or like the useless MP, setting up a 'working group' ?. They will do nothing as usual, and as for Nobbs piping up, who the hell wants to hear your comments after your fiasco with the incinerator.

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    "V"

    Friday, January 9, 2015

  • No, George its not a severe blow, the US procurement says that 'they can get it cheaper and better elsewhere', which opens a lot of questions with regards to the services and facilities provision from outside providers, does it not? It also shifts prime targets to Germany, when the best move would have been westwards.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 9, 2015

  • Mildenhall imports most of their needs from the U.S. they will still not except our beef let alone anything else. Only very few venture out as all their needs are catered for on base. The only business that appears to suffer is the local car sales ( at least, thats all they have been showing on the news!) Most of the Americans live and shop on the base. Beats me where a loss to the local ecomony comes into fruition. Just hope government and council don't sell out for next to nothing like they have all the other US bases. Big thanks to the Americans though, for helping out WW2, what ever we think, a lot of young guys lost their lives for the defence of this country, the crematories near Cambridge reflect that loss. No doubt we will fill it with our influx of eastern Europeans.

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    Michael Anderson

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Oh goody another airbase to be bought by NCC. Just you wait and see soon all the airfields in Norfolk will be belong to NCC. It's a top secret plan hatched by Labour and Ukip, they will let us know when they are good and ready, you just have to trust'em.

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    Gina

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • "A severe blow to the local economy". I am so proud to live in a county where it's council leader displays such profound insight. Also reassuring to hear that Liz will be 'supporting' businesses every step of the way.

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    One Horse Town

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Looking on the bright side; a quieter countryside and much safer roads!

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    Norfolk John

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Surprised you haven't fallen back on your usual tactic of blaming the previous Tory administration at NCC, George!! Still, if you want to carry on harking back to WW2 then you can always pop on over to your white elephant at RAF Coltishall to see what sort of value the taxpayer is getting for the £11m you've chucked into it so far.... (None to date!)

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    Fenscape 2

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

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