Demolition work set for RAF Menwith Hill
Demolition work is being planned at RAF Menwith Hill, where 13 buildings 'would have cost more to retain' a military official has said.
A planning application was submitted to Harrogate Borough Council for the demolition of 13 buildings, including an accommodation block and school, by Interserve Central Government and Defence Ltd.
RAF Commander at the base, Squadron Leader Geoff Dickson, said that the plans are related to the 2015 announcement of 500 civilian and military job cuts. American bases across the world saw similar reductions.
He said "We have now reached the point we predicted in 2015, the steady state where the work force has stabilised."
He added: "The planning applications that have been made relate to the decisions made in 2015. We have lost a huge number of people.
"The cost of retaining the buildings is far greater than demolishing them."
Other buildings have already been demolished on the base over the years including two administrative blocks and 66 houses.
A further four buildings will be demolished in the year, although details of these were not provided.
Staff currently number approximately 1,200 UK and US personnel. According to the base there is still a post office, resource centre, gymnasium, bowling alley, social club, petrol station, restaurant, bank and convenience store.
The base, however, has a smaller community according to Mr Dickson. With twenty houses remaining on the base the majority of staff live across the district.
He said: "Now most of the population live in communities across the area. There are still however facilities on site."
He added: "About 60 per cent of them live in Harrogate, around three per cent in bigger areas like Knaresborough and Ripon, while the rest are scattered in smaller communities."
The demolition work is not the only application recently submitted for the base.
A communications tower, more than 22 meters high, could be constructed following the planned demolition of a water tower on the base. This is due to be carried out next year.
The water tower currently houses the base's emergency relays, which will be moved onto the tower when it is constructed.