Get involved: send your pictures and news by texting Hillingdon Times to 80360, or email us
Find by date
Other ways to search
Also look for
Wind of change at RAF Northolt
RAF NORTHOLT is set to expand, becoming the core site of airforce operations in London.
In plans announced by the Ministry of Defence last week, the base will see an investment of £110 million over the next seven years, with several units moving to Northolt from RAF Uxbridge. And the Uxbridge site could become home to 3,000 US Navy staff within the next five years if the US forces accept the MoD proposals.
The major investment plans across the country, which are expected to cost a total of £200 million, were outlined by Defence Minister Dr Lewis Moonie last week.
The huge investment will concentrate on developing RAF Northolt as one of two core sites along with Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, and one US Navy core site at RAF Uxbridge.
Dr Moonie said: "I am pleased to announce these plans, which will ensure that the Defence Estate in London is run efficiently and cost-effectively.
"Equally important will be the improved quality of life for service personnel and their families."
Flight Lieutenant Andy Priest, deputy corporate communications officer at RAF Northolt said: "This is really good for us. We are assured a future here at RAF Northolt.
"Our core business will still be the same, although we will be gaining extra units from Uxbridge as well.
"I am happy for Northolt, it is a huge investment, and one I am looking forward to. We expect to get around £150 million from selling off smaller sites, so it will pay for itself in the long term."
The number of workers at RAF Northolt is set to double from around 1,100 to nearly 2,000, and the extra traffic implications of extra staff could be a major concern for local residents.
Flight Lieutenant Andy Priest said: "I was at the consultative group meeting for local residents last week, and that certainly was a worry that was raised.
"I understand resident's concerns, but we are going to do our utmost for a green transport policy.
"We are looking at all alternatives. Personnel will be working different shift patterns for example, so that should ease traffic.
The West End Road is already a very busy road, so it would only be potentially busier at certain times of the day, but we haven't ruled out a new access road into the base".
The MoD say that the primary aim of this project is to produce an estate within Greater London of the right size and quality to support the delivery of defence capability in line with the MoD's strategy for Defence Estate.
November 6, 2002 15:30