Twin Bases - RAF Bentwaters, RAF Woodbridge

RAF Woodbridge News


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Mostly sourced from the East Anglian Daily Times


Army plans spark traffic fears

by Richard Smith
8 January 2004

The Army has pledged to keep military traffic to a minimum on A1152 through Melton and on A12. Following the £100 million overhaul, RAF Woodbridge will be re-named Hawker Barracks. Extra security measures will be provided. Traffic movements will be relatively low - 120 traffic movements per day associated with the military part of the base. When the regiment leaves for exercise, all traffic movements will be in consultation with Suffolk constabulary. No significant military traffic movements will take place during ' rush hour'  and Suffolk Coastal District Council has started consultation with local councils.

Some buildings will be demolished due to their poor quality, including barracks, school, gym, hangars - all in areas out of bounds to the public. New buildings will include offices, garages, workshops, stores, recreational facilities, living accommodation and a rifle range. Public organizations will be able to use the leisure facilities.
The are presently no plans to demolish the ammunition storage facilities, although the Army has no immediate plans for their use.


Army move secures future for RAF Woodbridge

by Richard Smith
13 November 2002

The Army confirmed yesterday that the future of the former RAF Woodbridge was secure. They will bring in hundreds of paratroopers and spend millions of pounds on new barracks.

Two major units will move into purpose-built barracks. A total of 550 soldiers from 23 Engineer Regiment are due to move by late 2006. The second unit to move to Woodbridge has yet to be identified.

The decision was taken following an internal Army review, in conjunction with Suffolk Coastal District Council. The proposals will have to be approved through the normal planning process. Work should start in the next 18 months.


Air Base Decision?


5 November 2002

Hundreds of jobs created as MoD stations two regiments at the former RAF WOODBRIDGE.

The British Army will spend millions of pounds on a major overhaul of mothballed RAF Woodbridge.  The future of the base will be safeguarded by bringing in two regiments. More than 700 soldiers are to be stationed at Woodbridge. The MoD are keen to ensure that the Sandlings Primary School and the child care centre remain open.

A new name is being sought for the base - perhaps Hawker Barracks.  Preliminary work on refurbishing and upgrading buildings will begin within 12 months.

The first regiment to move will be the 23rd Engineers Regiment, in 2005-6. Another regiment will move in but this is not yet public information. It is expected that a number of Apache helicopters will be stationed at the base for training purposes.

Woodbridge town council is eager to meet the Army to obtain more details. An Army spokeswoman said "I can not confirm any details... no formal announcement has been made."


D-day approaches for Suffolk airbase


9 July 2002

SENIOR military officers are preparing to make a multi-million pound decision that will affect the future of a Suffolk airfield.

The Ministry of Defence announced yesterday that the Land Command department will announce next month what it wants to do with the Woodbridge Airfield, currently used for helicopter training and Army exercises.

New fears have been raised that the MoD is preparing to mothball the base and reconsider the original decision to bring 750 engineers to the airfield. The post office on the airfield has shut, the shop is closing this month and now the gym is to be closed.

Sandlings Primary School, with about 200 pupils, is anxiously awaiting the decision. David Fox, head teacher, is already preparing for the loss of 80 children when their families move from Woodbridge Airfield to new accommodation at Hadleigh or Thorrington Park to be closer to Wattisham Airfield.

But yesterday Mr Fox was hoping the school would have a sporting chance to survive the upheaval.

''The Ministry of Defence has said they want them (the families) out by March 2003. This would still leave us with 100-plus children. Short term planning is all we are focusing on at the moment and long-term we have the concerns over the numbers dropping,'' said Mr Fox.

His pupils have taken part in numerous sponsored sporting activities to raise £500-plus for Sports Relief, an initiative to raise money for poor and disadvantaged children.

Now the location of one of those fund-raising events - a sports hall by the school which was used for a sponsored trampoline - will be closed, the Mod says.

The school, a karate club and Hollesley Judo Club will not be able to use the facility.

The childcare centre's future is also under threat. It is to remain open until at least Christmas and the primary school is considering whether it can make provision for children aged three to five to come to the school building.

Steve Smedley, of Blaxhall, has three children at the judo club including 11-year-old Alex who was at the Junior National Championships last year.

Mr Smedley said: ''The base is due to be shut down at the end of this month, as far as we have been led to believe. We have been told by Defence Estates we will not be able to use the gym but there is nowhere left for us to go and we are appealing for anyone who can help us find alternative premises.''

The MoD's decision will have a huge impact on Woodbridge and the surrounding area. One reason for the delay in making a decision was the enormous cost - up to £100m - of modernising buildings for the soldiers.

An Army spokeswoman said: ''A decision is due for August on the future military use of Woodbridge. It will be taken by senior military officers and Mod officers at Land Command.

''Because most of the staff have moved out or will be moving out of Woodbridge to go to new housing at Hadleigh by the start of September, then the facility (sports hall) will be hardly used, so it will be mothballed for the time being.''

The judo club will have a farewell demonstration on July 14 from 9am to 4pm at the sports hall and anyone who can help with premises should contact Julie Jolliffe on 01394 410483.


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