3,000 jobs could be created when RAF Lyneham closes
16th March 2011
An Emergency meeting has been called by businesses to discuss the long term future of the RAF Lyneham site which is due to close next year. Plans are being put forward by local businessman Eddy Shah which could create at least 3,000 new jobs and fill the void when the RAF pull out.
Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce has organised a presentation to the local community next month to weigh up the commercial options for the site.
The last Hercules will be leaving the 1,300 acre RAF Lyneham site in July this year when all that will remain will be two simulators and 200 servicemen travelling to Brize Norton, where they are relocating. “Wiltshire already has a fragile economy,” said Stefan Barbaruk, the manager of the Wessex Association which represents 17 chambers of commerce among towns in Wiltshire.
Even before the Lyneham gates are locked for the last time in 2012, the impact of the closure will have created a £90m reduction in the north Wiltshire economy and its community which will be devastating. That pain is already being felt severely by those companies closest to the base.”
Wessex Association has been lobbying, along with Wiltshire Council, on behalf of the business community for a decision on RAF Lyneham’s future by the MOD to ensure the void is filled.
Realistically, there are two options.
The first, and preferred option, is for the MOD to earmark it for Army use – for returning troops from Germany and to merge smaller technical supply bases. However, with the current unrest in the Middle East, this looks increasingly unlikely.
Option two would involve opening the site out to the commercial sector on condition that it would create jobs to replace those lost due to the closure. Mr Shah, proprietor of the Wiltshire Golf and Country Club in Wootton Bassett, has plans for Lyneham should the Army not come. He believes he can generate some 3,000 jobs on the site, with a few thousand more in the community with suppliers and contractors.
“My plan is aimed at creating a sustainable economic climate with a long term future which will directly benefit all businesses,” he said.
“We would like to make contact with other companies or individuals who feel they may have alternative and viable commercial ideas. Anyone who may be able to help should contact us urgently.
“Doing nothing with the site is not an option. If we are going to succeed in achieving a positive outcome for post-RAF Lyneham, we need the immediate and unconditional support of the business community to lead us out of this challenging situation. As local people who create the jobs, we can change our environment for the better.”
The meeting is for those who would like to be part of a solution. It will take place on Wednesday, April 6 2011 at the Wiltshire Golf and Country Club at Wootton Bassett. People wanting to attend the meeting should email to firstname.lastname@example.org with all details.