MP disappointed historic RAF base will not be sold until 'end of 2023'

A historic RAF base in North Yorkshire which has been closed down will not be sold for another two years.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said he is disappointed the sale of RAF Linton-on-Ouse is “taking so long” as there is “great potential for redevelopment” on the site.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has decided to sell off the base in Linton-on-Ouse, near York, along with 90 other military sites, to save taxpayers around £140m.

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In a letter to Mr Hollinrake, defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin said the Government “expect to be in a position" to sell it "by the end of 2023", adding: “I understand this may come as disappointing news, but I hope that you will welcome the certainty that his decision provides".

The Ministry of Defence has decided to sell RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York, along with 90 other military sites, to save taxpayers around £140m.

Mr Hollinrake said: “There doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation for why it is taking so long.

“Clearly that's been the heartbeat of the village for many years and the village is a much more sustainable one when that base is open, and there are hundreds of families that are part of daily life in Linton-on-Ouse.

“There’s great potential for redevelopment on that site, with employment use or housing.

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“The sooner we get that in place, the sooner the sustainability of the shop and the school is made possible again. It is a concern that it’s going to take too long.”

The Tory MP, who campaigned to keep the base open, is also pressing the MOD to transfer the ownership of 160 properties in the village of Linton-on-Ouse, which have used by military personnel, to management company Annington Homes so they can be brought back into use.

The MOD said 84 properties are inside the perimeter of the base and cannot be transferred to Annington until the site is sold.

It plans to transfer 56 to the company in February and the other homes, which are outside the perimeter, after the military personnel and their families have left.

In his letter, Mr Quin also said that under the Government’s Crichel Down Rules, it is required to offer the site to the former owners.

Mr Hollinrake said the former owners are the University College Oxford.

After opening in 1937, RAF Linton-on-Ouse was used by squadrons conducting raids on Nazi Germany and occupied Norway and Italy during World War Two and then became a training base in 1957.

It was used as the base of the Tucano training aircraft, before the aircraft was retired in 2019.