RAF has ‘no plans’ to shut Northolt

Coun­cil sub­mit­ted plans to Mayor of Lon­don to build 20,000 homes on site

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Alexan­der Ballinger

THE Royal Air Force (RAF) has said there are ‘cur­rently no plans’ to dis­pose of its his­toric Northolt base af­ter Eal­ing Coun­cil sug­gested the site could be closed and used to build 20,000 homes.

The Gazette re­vealed in Jan­uary that the coun­cil had sub­mit­ted the idea to the Mayor of Lon­don Sadiq Khan’s office as part of the con­sul­ta­tion for the new Lon­don Plan.

The sug­ges­tion caused an up­roar among res­i­dents con­cerned about in­creas­ing traf­fic, a strain on health care, the loss of the base’s his­tory as well as the se­cu­rity it pro­vides for Lon­don.

RAF Northolt sits within the bound­ary of Hilling­don Coun­cil and the leader of the coun­cil Ray Pud­di­foot vowed to op­pose any plans to build 20,000 homes on the base.

A spokesman for the RAF said: “There are cur­rently no plans to dis­pose of RAF Northolt.”

Eal­ing Coun­cil sub­mit­ted the idea to Mr Khan’s office as part of the ‘City for All Lon­don­ers’ doc­u­ment, which out­lines chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties across the cap­i­tal.

The coun­cil claimed the 100-year-old work­ing RAF sta­tion ‘serves no real strate­gic im­por­tance’ and could be de­vel­oped for hous­ing to com­bat Lon­don’s hous­ing cri­sis.

In its sub­mis­sion to City Hall, Eal­ing Coun­cil wrote: “Al­though not in The Uxbridge Gazette Se­ries Eal­ing, [ RAF Northolt] im­me­di­ately bor­ders our bor­ough and we be­lieve of­fers huge po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment es­pe­cially given its prox­im­ity to key routes into Lon­don by road and un­der­ground.

“The air­base serves no real strate­gic im­por­tance and its clo­sure would help off­set ad­di­tional flights from Heathrow whilst al­low­ing for con­ges­tion in the skies to be man­aged more ef­fec­tively and fairly.

“It would also en­sure de­vel­op­ment at higher lev­els of den­sity could be achieved in the sur­round­ing area be­cause there would be no need to safe­guard ap­proaches to the air­base.”

In its re­sponse to Eal­ing Coun­cil’s pro­posal, City Hall is stay­ing quiet on specifics about RAF Northolt.

A spokesman for the Mayor of Lon­don said: “All submissions are as­sessed jointly by City Hall and the bor­oughs for sus­tain­abil­ity for hous­ing, which will form ev­i­dence for the new Lon­don plan.”

HIS­TORIC SITE: RAF Northolt opened in 1915

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