Twin Bases - RAF Bentwaters, RAF Woodbridge


1997 News of the Twin Bases

 


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Edited reports, mostly from East Anglian Daily Times

17 December 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Investor to Meet Residents

Fred Mouawad, the main investor behind BIL is under pressure to unveil his development plans for the Bentwaters.

He is being urged to listen to the views of families who have moved onto housing estates near the base, and who have not seen any progress or jobs.

BIL's upbeat announcement to the Chamber of Commerce expected flying to start by May 1998 but aviation experts say this is highly unlikely, without planning permission from SCDC or clearance from the CAA.

There are still people waiting to buy 60 places in Suffolk Drive; delayed by a High Court decision to freeze all dealings in connection with the base until ownership writs are resolved.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said that he had meetings with Fred Mouawad, who accepted that he needs to deal fairly with people wanting to buy homes, but he is hampered by legal proceedings.   John Gummer said "I am very determined to have a meeting in the new year so that people can question Mr Mouawad and his advisers, and he can put his plans before the local people."

Meanwhile, Chris Parker remains interested in purchasing the site for GBP 10 million but declined to comment on the progress of negotiations.

 

1 December 1997 - EADT

Councillor Herring 'Snubbed'

Ray Herring represents Tunstall on SCDC and has spent years monitoring the re-development of Bentwaters since the Americans left  in 1993.

Ray was not allowed to sit on the Bentwaters working party set up in May 1996, and was refused permission to attend a meeting at which details of the latest plans for the base were unveiled by BIL.

Mr Herring says the "in-depth knowledge and experience of ward councillors can be invaluable and should not be ignored."

Council leader Terry Hodgson admitted that another working party is aiming to improve the involvement of members at working party discussions.  He did consider inviting local councillors but it was decided that too many could claim to have local interest. Therefore, only four councillors were invited.

 

26 November 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Major Company Moving to Bentwaters

A major national company is expected to move into the former USAF base later this week, and create new jobs, in the 'enterprise park section.  It is hoped that the name of the new tenant for buildings on the former Bentwaters base can be announced soon, to encourage others to re-locate to the site.

Kate Lacey of BIL said the company was "conscious of the happy memories many local people have had for the recent past at the airfield, and the sadness many will feel at the passing of the name Bentwaters." (Not only locals, I suspect - Linn Barringer)

The winner of the naming competition was Mr P Buck who lives near Stowmarket and will take his seat on the inaugural flight from the new airport, which may be as soon as 6 months time.

Miss Lacey added that "New Rendelsham will be a model of the successful conversion from a military to a civilian self-sustaining community combining residential facilities with employment, recreation, entertainment and community services."

The enterprise park will be created among the 459,000 square feet of buildings north of the runway.

 

22 November 1997 - EADT

Parker in New Bid for Bentwaters

In yet another twist in the saga of the Sale of Bentwaters, the Chris Parker Group has offered 10 million pounds to BIL for the site.

In July Fred Mouawad of BIL turned down a 12 million pound offer by the rival Chris Parker Group.

Chris Parker said his company still wanted the base and was prepared to step in and implement its plans. "We had an offer of 10 million ... and were within 3 days of completion when it was suddenly sold to Bentwaters Investments," he said.

"We understand the sale was for about 3 million pounds less than our offer. We have now sent a formal offer to the lawyers acting for Bentwaters Investments and that offer is 10 million pounds. We believe we still have the right answer to the development of the site.

"We already have a planning consent for a development there and we could start work in January. It could be many months past that date before the current owners are able to do anything."

Mr Parker's plans, agreed by SCDC, did not include an airport and the runways would be removed.

BIL has yet to file a planning application, carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment or traffic assessment, and objections from environmental protesters could delay the process by months.

There has also been a recent suggestion that rail links in the area could be improved. The intention would be to enable clearance of debris from the site, and at the same time minimise impact on the local roads and villages.

 

20 November 1997 - Rod Williams, EADT

New Name Decided

The new name for the former Bentwaters Air Base was announced today. The new name is Anglia International Airpark with the residential area becoming New Rendlesham. It was not announced who had won the naming competition.

The first flights could be as early as May 1998. Within five years, the Airpark could be handling 100,000 passengers a year.

Alec de Changy, of the project management team, revealed the master plan for the Airpark saying they would "position Suffolk on the map of the hottest business regions in Europe."

Some business leaders expressed doubts about the ability to open in such a short space of time, although they mostly supported the development.

 

14 November 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Bentwaters High Court Battle Begins

The battle over the ownership of the former Bentwaters air base has begun in the High Court.

A company run by Tony Hunt issued a writ against BIL, asking for a ruling on who owns the site.

BIL argued that there is no case to answer and that proceedings should be halted.  BIL's request was dismissed, which means the dispute will be argued in court.

Mr Hunt was given 28 days by the High Court, to provide more information on the background to the writ.

BIL declined to comment.

The site -- empty for more than four years now -- will remain mothballed until the court action is settled. The legal wrangling is also delaying the registration of the land.

 

29 October 1997 - Richard Cornwell, EADT

Bentwaters - Deposits Returned

Developers who took cash deposits for homes at Bentwaters have now returned the money to prospective owners.

Tens of thousands of pounds were returned because legal action over ownership of the base has led to the High Court halting all negotiating and freezing all dealings in connection with the base until the writs issued are resolved.

Prospective buyers are furious that a two-line letter accompanying the repayment cheques contained no apology, no explanation, no details of what might happen next, and was not even signed."

"They have held our GBP 3000 for two years and must have interest from it but none of that is returned either," said Jo O'Brien, who hoped to buy a house in Suffolk Drive with her partner Adrian Harris.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has said the legal matters prevent anyone from the developers speaking on the matter but he understood an out of court settlement was being sought to minimise delay.

 

7 October 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Gummer Helping Homebuyers

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer is trying to help the families who have waited years to move into homes at Bentwaters. A planned high profile demonstration by some families has been postponed while Mr Gummer acts as mediator.

When BIL bought the base, it said the first sales would be completed within four weeks. It is now five months since the base was sold and there is still no sign of any deals being completed.

Mr Gummer also said he was "...also trying to talk to those people concerned about the airport proposals."

 

25 September 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

New Look for Air Base

The company working on the re-design of the former Bentwaters air base is behind some of the most ambitious civil engineering projects world-wide.

RTKL has completed more than 200 projects in 47 countries (mostly in Korea, the Philippines, Britain and Indonesia) including a 40-storey Polish headquarters office for Korean company Daewoo Corporation.

The Washington DC office of RTKL has been commissioned by BIL to draw up a plan for a business airport near Woodbridge. The company has an interesting track record.

 

23 September 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Writs Fly Again

The future of Bentwaters has been thrown into turmoil yet again, by multi-million pound writs.

Chris Parker Group is claiming damages for alleged breach of contract by the MoD when they stopped selling the base to CPG.

CPG also issued writs against Bidwells, the selling agent, and two solicitors.

Pat Benson, former project manager, issued writs against various people involved in the purchase of the base.

Tony Hunt's company, which was also trying to buy the base, has issued writs, including one which asks the High Court to rule which company legally owns the base.

In a final(?) twist, the Hull Land Registry department revealed that the site has not been officially registered...

 

17 September 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Americans to Re-Design Bentwaters

BIL has asked RTKL Associates Inc of Washington, DC, to produce plans for a business airport, an enterprise park and development of the village centre on the domestic site.

Kate Lacey told RPC that progress is being made on the re-development of the site and that BIL hopes to announce the airport's new name soon.

Modernisation of the 62 homes and facilities in Suffolk Drive has been complicated and slow.  Anglian Water has now sorted out the water mains.  A huge tank under the road is no longer suitable for supplying heating oil to the houses.

 

27 August 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Flying Hours Extended even before they begin to fly!

SCDC planners have voted to allow flying from 07:00 Monday to Saturday with scheduled flights starting at 06:00.  Councillors believe this will meet the needs of those wishing to fly to breakfast meetings.

BIL is still waiting to appoint an airfield operator and submit a planning application to the council.

The tight restrictions on the use of the airfield, to control noise or pollution for residents and to ensure the airport does not grow unchecked, may be amended following consultation with the public. The council has agreed to re-write part of its policy paper to stress the advantages of a new airport.

 

21 August 1997 - EADT

Airport sort-of Approved

SCDC has issued a new policy giving their backing in principle to a new airport at the former Bentwaters air base.

Planners believe the potential economic advantages of a new airport outweigh objections to using the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

People in the area have become used to a relative quiet period due to the lack of aircraft, since flying from the base ceased in 1993.

But to safeguard the neighbouring parishes and ensure the various organisations with interests in the site can comment, SCDC is circulating its policy to interested parties - even though it has not yet received a planning application from BIL, with specific details.

SCDC policy outlines the following controls for aviation activities:

  •  Aircraft movements 08:00-20:00 Mon-Fri, 09:00-19:00 Sat, 10:00-16:00 Sunday and Public Holidays.

  •  Training flights and aircraft testing 09:00-17:00 Mon-Fri, 09:00-13:00 Sat, none on Sunday or Public Holidays.

  •  No helicopter training. No helicopters after 13:00 Sat,or at any time on Sunday or Public Holidays.

  •  No parachute planes. No towed gliders (except by a ground winch) or microlights, and restrictions on the total annual movements.

  •  SCDC to give written consent before aerobatic displays and private or public air events are organised.

The question of flight paths and minimum circuit heights above and away from the airfield remain unresolved.

Rendlesham Parish Council also supports an airport.

 

22 July 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Kate Lacey U-Turn

Bosses at Bentwaters air base are happy to have persuaded Kate Lacey to stay on as site manager, despite her earlier resignation.  Her resignation was because some aspects of the job were different to her initial expectations, and very different to life in the RAF.

David Crewe, BIL's communication manager attended a Rendlesham Parish Council meeting last week, in place of Kate Lacey.  But, after spending a day with her, helping her re-assess her decision, she withdrew her resignation.

BIL hopes to announce the new name for the site within a few weeks.

 

16 July 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

New Name Contest for Bentwaters

EADT readers are being asked to play a part in the future of Bentwaters. The housing area will be named Rendlesham, as it has been for over 1,300 years.

Names under consideration are Anglia International Airpark, Ipswich and Felixstowe Airpark, Suffolk International Airpark. Readers are also invited to suggest their own alternative.

The winner will be given an inaugural flight for two people when the airport opens. Although the plans are taking shape, no planning application will be submitted to SCDC until BIL have appointed an operator.

BIL are working with planners to have a new airport to be part of the Local Plan, in principle. BIL are aiming for general aviation, North Sea oil rig support helicopters, air taxis, charters, business flights. Airlines should link Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Brussels, Rotterdam, Hamburg and UK regional airports.

In answer to a question from Parish councillor Pat Ashton, Mr Crewe of BIL said that weekend recreational flying is not ruled in or out and that local opinions would be taken into account.

Building the hundreds of new homes will take seven to ten years. Homes in Suffolk Drive will be sold and Anglian Water will start work next Monday. Mr Crewe also accepted that BIL were 'assessing' people to ensure that buyers are intending to live there, not rent the houses.

Answering a question from Parish chairman Michael Bunbury about the writ being issued, Mr Crewe said "What writ? We have not seen a writ."

 

15 July 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Financing the Re-development

If BIL and SCDC can secure a one million pound grant from Europe, over 5 million will be spent on major re-development. Seebrook Holdings Ltd, based in Jersey, is the holding company behind BIL.

Seebrook has told SCDC it will contribute 4.25 million, with 25,000 from SCDC and 1.2 million from the 9 million European KONVER "peace dividend" grant scheme.

 

10 July 1997 - EADT

New Chris Parker Bid Rejected

Fred Mouawad of BIL turned down a 12 million pound offer to buy the site by the rival Chris Parker Group, after BIL bought the site for 7.1 million in May this year.

Kate Lacey Resigns

Yet another twist in this story came as Kate Lacey resigned after travelling to London to meet the project management team. A spokesman said she had resigned by mutual agreement because "...she felt the role of site manager is different to her initial expectations..." and that "...it was in the best interest of both parties..."

Suffolk Drive House Sales Stalled

The sale of more than 60 homes in Suffolk Drive has stalled. Woodbridge solicitor Tony Hubbard is advising prospective buyers to put the deals on hold.

One problem concerns the lack of services. Anglian Water is waiting for the go-ahead to adopt the drainage and water supply and says it has had difficulty contacting the developers. Tony Hubbard said "We were told that Anglian Water had been instructed but it has been established that they have not."

 

9 July 1997 - Julian Ford and Richard Smith, EADT

Who Really Owns Bentwaters?

Joseph Laurence Limited is run by Tony Hunt, who bid 12.1 million pounds to buy the base last year. Mr Hunt's bid was to be financed by Mr Mouawad, and it is claimed that it had been agreed his firm JLL would share in the profits.

JLL issued a writ on 3 July, asking the High Court to rule which company legally owns the Bentwaters ex-air base.

The writ has been issued against Bentwaters Investments Ltd (registered in the British Virgin Islands), Bentwaters Investments Ltd (registered in the Channel Islands), Bentwaters Investments Ltd (registered in England), Fred Mouawad (based in Switzerland and Thailand) and Lawrence Jones, a London firm of solicitors.

According to the writ, the site was bought by either BIL (CI) or BIL (BVI).  JLL is asking the court to declare the land to be held on trust for BIL (England) and for ownership to be transferred permanently to BIL.

The writ claims that JLL is owed 30% of the projected profits derived from any future commercial development of the Bentwaters air base.

JLL has separately applied to the Land Registry to try to prevent ownership being registered until the dispute is resolved.

 

4 July 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

House Buyers Vetted

Potential buyers of houses in Suffolk Drive were angry when told they would be vetted to ensure they will fit in with the new community.

The base owners were also criticised for trying to make as much money as possible by selling the ten properties in a sealed bid auction. The properties are said to be worth 35 to 48 thousand pounds.

No-one can move in until essential services are provided. The water system must be upgraded to conform to Anglian Water standards.

In May, BIL said "The first sale is expected to complete within four weeks." Now BIL admits there are delays because the company is reviewing the whole situation of Suffolk Drive.

BIL is reviewing the list of buyers, in an attempt to ensure it sells to people who are committed to making a community at Bentwaters, not those buying for investment.

 

30 June 1997 - EADT

New name for Airport?

The new airport to be built on the old Bentwaters air base is expected to be named "Ipswich and Felixstowe Airport" and not "Suffolk Business Airport."  BIL say that establishing a name for the airport will help get the project off the ground.

The new name will identify it better with the two towns and ports which are the nearest business communities it will serve.

BIL are also considering if their housing development needs a new name. Officially, it is in the village of Rendlesham, where the Wuffing dynasty, the first kings of all East Anglia, had their Great Hall.

The base was originally named RAF Butley then re-named Bentwaters in 1943, after a house or cottages that stood on the site of the present runway.

 

26 June 1997 - EADT

Former RAF Officer Takes Charge

Kate Lacey has been appointed to oversee the transformation of the empty Bentwaters air base site.

Kate, from Sudbourne, near Woodbridge, was a Royal Air Force fighter control officer. Until retiring recently after 19 years in the RAF, she had Wing Commander responsibilities at RAF Bentley Priory.

Kate's family has connections with Bentwaters; Father, Howard, taught specialist photographic skills and calligraphy to the Americans at the twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge for 13 years. Sister Vivien worked as a secretary at Bentwaters.

"I am thrilled to be involved in this project to bring Bentwaters back to life. In particular, I strongly believe in the benefits of creating a new business airport here," said Kate.

"My major job is to build strong links with the local communities and to provide information on our plans for the project."

 

11 June 1997 - Richard Smith, EADT

Bid for £1 Million Euro Cash

SCDC is working with BIL on a proposals to be submitted before the 30 June deadline. Their aim is to obtain funding to provide services for an industrial estate near the runway on the technical site, and the mission support building on the domestic site.

Phil Watkinson said they intend to clear sub-standard buildings from the technical site, with the aim of providing employment opportunities as quickly as possible.

Dismissals Disputed

Former staff of BIL who were dismissed on May 16 are disputing statements issued by BIL and are concerned that the controversy could affect their chances of finding new jobs.

DTZ, the new site management company on the site, claim that previous employees were given the opportunity to apply for similar posts, with DTZ.

 

23 May 1997 - Linn Barringer

First Flight?

A medium-sized commercial aircraft over-flew Bentwaters and began circling Woodbridge today. It was a modern twin-engined turbo-prop high-wing aircraft.  It seems likely that the aircraft I spotted was a Dornier 228 belonging to Suckling Airlines.

 

23 May 1997 - Dave Vincent, EADT

Regional Airport

BIL briefed a private gathering of county and district councillors at the SCDC offices, including details from DTZ Debenham Thorpe's plans.

Peter Monk, county councillor, said "Quite clearly they have aspirations for a regional airport.   The presentation gave a general overview.  My interest now is ... for plans to come forward which will provide ... jobs in the area."

Rendlesham Parish Council was not invited to the briefing but vice chairman Mike Parry said he had spoken to BIL about meeting them in June. "I hope, despite the development, the charm and tranquility of this area remains."

Beverley Groves of the Bentwaters Action Group said "We have heard nothing. We hope to have a meeting with the company soon."

Queue for Homes

All 58 former US Officers' homes in Suffolk Drive are now sold or reserved, with a queue of 50 people hoping to secure a deal if others fail to buy. They were sold for GBP 35-48,000 - buyers will be able to move in after about two months, after electricity and water supplies are connected.

 

22 May 1997 - Richard Smith EXCLUSIVE in the EADT

MoD Accused

The Ministry of Defence was accused of not getting the best deal for the Bentwaters air base.  It has been claimed that officials dropped 5 million to get a quick sale.

Indications are that BIL paid around only 7 million, not the 12.1 million asking price.

Chris Parker group, is now considering legal action because they are unhappy with the way the MoD conducted the sale.

Whitehall officials, and David Crewe of BIL, both said details of the deal are commercially confidential.

Several administrative staff and consultants have been axed by BIL, in a letter to them from an address in St. Helier, Jersey, advising them that DTZ Debenham Thorpe of London had become the property advisor to the project. The axed staff were paid one month's salary in lieu of notice.

 

17 May 1997 - Linn Barringer

Bentwaters Sold!

Yesterday, 16 May 1997, the Ministry of Defence completed the sale of the Bentwaters air base to Bentwaters Investments Limited.

 

16 May 1997
No by-line, EADT

Traffic Calming?

Villagers in Eyke are being asked to consider what traffic calming measures they want to be introduced within the next 12 months.

The measures are intended to prevent their village being disrupted by Bentwaters re-development traffic.

They are being asked to contact a parish councillor before a meeting is held in the summer.

 

15 May 1997
No by-line, Mercury

Flying Business

BIL has met senior management at Felixstowe Port to drum up support for a business airport at Bentwaters.

BIL also hopes that the many customers and employees that travel to and from BT's research labs at Martlesham will use the new airport.

BIL believe that the airport's remoteness will prevent it becoming a major airport.

BIL does not anticipate night flying except in emergency circumstances.

Alec de Changy, financial adviser, says that "within five years there could be up to 80 flights a day."

There is still controversy over plans to train commercial pilots and allow some flying clubs to operate from the airport, seven miles from Woodbridge.

 

7 May 1997
Richard Smith, EADT

Objectors and Supporters

The dream of a thriving local economy and new jobs could be at risk from objectors, despite their also being supporters of a Suffolk business Airport to replace the closed Ipswich Airport.

A group of businessmen in Woodbridge stressed that a minimum investment is required to reopen the Bentwaters runway and the noise and traffic generated will be far less than opponents fear.

Supporters are concerned that without an airport the annual GBP 18 million that the Americans pumped into the economy will not be replaced.

Suffolk Preservation Society object to an airport because the area is in an AONB.

Villagers near Bentwaters are concerned their quality of life will be dramatically reduced.

But SCC has already agreed in principle to an airport and SCDC has given planning permission to retain 1720 metres of runway.

BIL is preparing a planning application to reopen the 300-acre airfield, with scheduled services to business destinations in the UK and abroad.

Some planes will fly 2,500 to 3,000 feet above Woodbridge in some weather conditions.

Woodbridge Mayer Mike Evelegh said "There is a great difference between a military airfield and a business one. If the airfield is a success, then the traffic will be enormous and that will be on top of any other developments taking place."

Labour and Lib-Dem district councillors have rejected Conservative plans for a Bentwaters-A12 link road, or to upgrade existing routes.

The new Labour Government is not expected to change the policy of selling redundant military airfields.

Ipswich Labour MP Jamie Cann is in the team overseeing airfields, and he supports BIL's airport plan.

 

25 April 1997
Richard Smith, EADT

Bentwaters Sale Agreed!

Bentwaters air base will be sold three weeks from today.

Completion date is set for Friday 16th of May 1997.

Residents in Rendlesham are overjoyed.

BIL is promising 1,500 new jobs and 400 more homes.

BIL may have secured a reduction from the GBP 12 million price.

Part of the existing runway will remain for light business aviation.

No parachute or flying clubs or other recreational flying.

BIL are financed by Global Investment Partners of Bangkok.

BIL's David Crewe said "We are delighted that the whole deal is moving forward. We have been in detailed discussions with the district council about the whole planning agenda, which includes bringing forward our proposal for the business airport."

John Gummer, MP, said he was delighted, and claimed that recent meetings he had organised, had helped achieve the sale.

SCDC leader Christine Block said "...SCDC look forward to working with BIL and the community to achieve a very positive development for the whole area."

Michael Bunbury, RPC chairman said "Thank goodness the first phase of the uncertainty after four years is likely to be out of the way."

 

11 April 1997
Graham Dines, EADT

Bentwaters Deal 'Very Soon'

Defence Secretary Michael Portillo has given an assurance that the sale of the former Bentwaters air base will be completed "very soon."

Mr Portillo said "I feel confident that with Bentwaters Investments, we are going to have something that will be fitting for the site."

However, while negotiations between MoD and BIL continue, Mr Portillo cautioned "It is an immensely complicated issue with lots of legal agreements to be made."

On a more positive note, he said "It is a soundly based scheme, a commercial proposition, and I am pretty confident that the sale will go ahead," but also said that an announcement will not be made this side of the General Election.

 
 

Note: The UK General Election was on 1 May 1997

 

5 April 1997
Richard Smith, EADT

Bentwaters Sale Still in the Balance

A range of companies is now waiting in the wings to bid for the Bentwaters air base if the latest protracted deal with BIL falls through this month.

MoD officials were hoping that the 12 million pound deal could be completed before Easter but yet another deadline in the four-year attempt to sell the base has come and gone.

MoD said that if this deal fails they may look at the second highest bidder, or ask all those who were interested in the past are still interested, and what they are prepared to pay.

MoD stressed that it was still committed to selling the base.

Suffolk Preservation Society says the environmental aspects of the site, which lies in an area designated an AONB, are being neglected at the expense of the achieving the highest possible price.

 

29 March 1997
Richard Smith, EADT and BBC Radio Suffolk

Business Airport Plan for Bentwaters

  • Poplar Aviation is involved in a row over an increase of flying at Elmsett following the close of Ipswich airport.

  • Poplar submitted a planning application to SCDC for a business airport, if BIL completes a deal to buy the Bentwaters base.

  • Poplar want to fly Jetstream 31s and Saab 340s with 20/25 seats with direct and indirect flights to national and international cities.

  • Peter Thompson, SCC director of environment and transport said "Aviation use did not form part of the formal MoD application or consent issued," adding that "The scale of operation envisaged may be substantial. The application has not been registered as adequate information relating to traffic and environmental impact has not been received."

 

BIL trying to reduce the price of Bentwaters

  • BIL admitted it is trying to reduce the price, originally believed to be GBP 12 million, arguing the price is no longer realistic.

  • David Crewe of BIL said "The question of price is part of the discussion."

  • BIL has already paid more than GBP 1 million as a deposit, which it expects to forfeit if the company decides not to buy Bentwaters.

 

Change of name for Bentwaters?

If they complete the purchase of Bentwaters, BIL are considering a change of name for the site.There are no published suggestions for an alternative name yet but it is likely that there will be consultation with the people living on the existing housing facilities.

 

24 March 1997
Alison Withers, EADT

Wilford Bridge in Danger

Wilford Bridge spans the River Deben on the present road from the A12 to the Bentwaters and Woodbridge Air Bases.

Nicholas Green, who owns the land on which the bridge rests, says the bridge walls that rest on the banks are crumbling away.

SCC engineers have installed gauges to monitor any widening of the cracks.

If the Army uses the route for very heavy vehicles, such as tanks, it could be too much for the bridge to cope with.

Nicholas Green: "All developments of the bases, be they MoD or private, are based on the false assumption that this bridge will continue to take an ever-increasing flow of traffic both in number and in weight."

A meeting at Bromeswell six months ago revealed that traffic flow would increase 6-fold if the developments take place.

Traffic lights at Melton already cause queues over the bridge, it would be worse with more traffic, including many lorries.

 

20 March
Richard Smith, EADT

Bentwaters Deal Settled Soon?

BIL is locked in discussions with Suffolk Coastal District council and the Ministry of Defence over the legal agreements attached to planning permission.

BIL's David Crewe said "We are still optimistic that there will be a positive outcome."

The more than 2,000 people living in the three housing estates now have their own community centre, a monthly newsletter, facilities for a youth club, IT equipment and an evening cafe.

There is also a shop with videos, alcohol and it may soon have a post office.

 

5 March
Richard Smith, EADT, Front Page

Fresh Hope for Bentwaters?

Meeting creates optimism

BIL said it was optimistic it will be able to complete the deal to buy the Bentwaters former American air base near Woodbridge, after a 90 minute meeting between themselves, MP John Gummer and representatives from SCDC.

David Crewe of BIL said the meeting was very encouraging, adding that "We do not want to lose the scheme... we still want to be there - but only if it is viable."

BIL were unhappy about the restrictions on the amount of demolition traffic and the timescale for demolishing buildings; location of a primary school; the housing allocation, and other issues.

Mr. Gummer said "I think there is no doubt that there is an intention on all sides to make this deal work... I am guardedly optimistic."

Mike Parry, vice chairman of Rendlesham Parish Council said he was "cautiously happy" with the news.

 


Collecting and sharing contributions about the Twin Bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England since 1995. Copyright © 1995-2009 Linn Barringer, All Rights Reserved.