Could a Veterans’ Village provide a lasting and fitting legacy to the past at RAF Scampton?

06 September 2018
2015 James Marsden

 

A vision to transform part of RAF Scampton into a lasting legacy that supports military veterans and their families has been put forward by a leading professional in the regional military field.

Taking inspiration from what is currently being developed on a 28-acre site in Hull, the idea of creating a ‘safe haven’ of affordable housing and associated facilities for ex-military personnel has been muted by Wilkin Chapman Partner and an expert in military matters, James Marsden.

James, who heads up the legal firm’s military sector, was speaking as speculation continues over the future of the base once it is closed in 2020 – an announcement that was made earlier this summer.

With great historical importance as the home of the Dambusters during the Second World War and currently the base for the Red Arrows, there have been calls for the RAF to either reconsider its decision, or look at ways in which the base’s significance can be remembered long-term. In addition to housing the Red Arrows, there are also 600 RAF personnel currently living there, with other accommodation now in private ownership.

With the above in mind, James has raised the idea of a Veterans’ Village – similar to the planned development in Hull. With a hopeful start date of November this year, the North Bank facility is the brainchild of Hull 4 Heroes, and is an £8-million investment for ex-servicemen and their families.

The charity, which has already received the support of landowners at Hull City Council, wants to develop 22-acres of land off Hull’s Priory Road to provide homes, training and job opportunities.

As well as 58 modular homes, the plans include a horticultural therapy and rehabilitation facility, market garden and garden centre. Hull 4 Heroes founder Paul Matson said the plan has had ‘absolutely unbelievable support.

James thinks such an idea could receive an equal level of support in Lincolnshire.

“What a fitting legacy such a development would be. There is already talk of ensuring that this base’s history lives on in the minds of future generations, and such a veterans’ facility could combine with a museum dedicated to the past. This is surely something that should be considered, especially as we now see it happening elsewhere,” said James.

The lead architect behind the Hull plan, Mark Hodson, of Hodson Architects – based on the North bank and in Grimsby, believes the idea could be a good one.

“The Hull 4 Heroes Veterans’ Village is an exciting and thoroughly wonderful project to be a part of. Whilst it is early days in the development of the project there is genuine hope that the template established could be repeated in other areas of the country.

“In the same way that the site in Hull has regenerated a redundant school site, this is a workable opportunity for places like RAF Scampton to be reimagined for the future whilst also acknowledging their historical significance,” said Mark.

As yet, the RAF has not released any further details for the future of Scampton, which lies within West Lindsey District Council. In past statements the council has said it hopes to develop a plan to turn RAF Scampton into a new community and its local plan identifies a need to look at a long-term strategy for old military sites. However, the authority has not commented further.


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