Site demolition work set to continue at RAF Menwith Hill

Menwith Hill on the outskirts of Harrogate.
Menwith Hill on the outskirts of Harrogate.

RAF Menwith Hill will ‘remain an integral part of joint UK and US security’ and ‘has an assured future,’ according to its commanding officer, as a programme of demolition work is set to continue.

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An application, notifying district planners that seven buildings are to be demolished, was submitted in January by Interserve Central Government and Defences Ltd on behalf of the United States Voluntary Forces.

It’s part of a long-term strategy, devised in 2015 ,‘when the scale of the draw-down at the base became apparent.’ Staff numbered around 1,200 personnel, including both UK and US personnel in 2018.

It will see buildings including housing, redundant offices and garage space demolished, from March 1. Once completed the foundations will be removed, top soil and grass seed laid down ‘to restore the site.’

RAF Commander at the base, Squadron Leader Geoff Dickson said: “The current demolition programme was devised back in 2015 when the scale of the draw down at RAF Menwith Hill became apparent.

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“The intent was to rationalise the estate, moving personnel into vacant spaces so that surplus buildings could be demolished, thus reducing recurring maintenance costs on buildings which would otherwise stand empty. It is actually more expensive over time to mothball a building than it is to demolish.

“The latest notifications of demolition are part of that programme. There are still other buildings currently in use which are part of the 2015 programme, though they won’t be notified until closer to demolition date.”

“RAF Menwith Hill remains an integral part of the joint UK/US security and communications framework and has an assured long-term future.”

In 2015 it was announced that 500 civilian and military job were to be cut at the base. American bases across the world saw similar reductions.

The application states that the demolition should go ahead ‘due to the draw down of American personnel and families no longer stationed on base, and that the facilities have become emptied and are no longer required.’

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