Engineers arrival delayed at air base

THE arrival of 750 engineers onto a Suffolk airbase has been delayed after the Ministry of Defence discovered the cost of the move had soared to around £100 million, it has emerged.

THE arrival of 750 engineers onto a Suffolk airbase has been delayed after the Ministry of Defence discovered the cost of the move had soared to around £100 million, it has emerged.

Whitehall has been taken aback by the huge cost of modernising Woodbridge airfield where it wanted to bring in an engineer regiment. It is understood that the cost has jumped from £50m to £100m – and now defence officials are having second thoughts about using the former American airbase.

The regiment earmarked for Woodbridge Airfield would be part of 16 Air Assault Brigade and it was anticipated the soldiers would use it for training purposes and occupy the technical site and single accommodation area. The Army Air Corps would continue to use the area for flying helicopters and training.

The soldiers were due to move last year. The date was put back to next year but last night the Army admitted a question mark hung over the regiment's plans.

An Army spokeswoman said: ''There has been no decision yet as to when and if the regiment would be moving to Woodbridge. That will be taken in August.

''I think there were some issues about budgets for the provision of the infrastructure so that the regiment could move.''

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She added if the regiment did not move then, the Army would have to make a decision about the future of the airfield but it was far too early to speculate on what that could be.

Any decision made by the Army will have a huge impact on east Suffolk. If the regiment does move in then millions of pounds will be pumped into the construction industry and hundreds of jobs will be safeguarded.

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