In 2016 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) outlined its strategy to invest £4 billion in modern facilities to deliver a better structured, more economical, estate that more effectively supports military capability, servicemen and women, and their families. As part of this investment the MOD identified a number of sites that were surplus to requirements. These sites provide numerous opportunities for alternative use in the local area, resulting in regeneration, housing or business growth and job creation. RAF Halton has been identified as one of these sites.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s (DIO) vision for RAF Halton is to create and invest in a sustainable, mixed-use development of approximately 1,000 homes, a local centre with retail and community facilities, and a primary school, that celebrates and incorporates the memory of the site’s military heritage.
The estate was first associated with the MOD in early 1913 when the 1st Brigade of Guards, and support units, used the land on the Halton estate as part of their summer manoeuvres.
In 1918, the estate was purchased to provide a permanent base for the expanding Royal Air Force with the first permanent accommodation blocks constructed during the early 1920s.
Today, there are 2 museums on the base: the James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre and the Trenchard Museum.
We want to preserve RAF Halton’s important history and incorporate its heritage assets into the new development. We have developed a heritage-led approach which will unlock the potential of the site and incorporate a trail to help tell the story of the site’s past.Our emerging masterplan focuses on creating a viable, sustainable and vibrant future for the redeveloped RAF Halton site that recognises its unique features and heritage.
Our emerging proposals cover 82 hectares of the 298 hectare site and include:
- respecting and enhancing RAF Halton’s rich heritage
- opening up the site to improve public access and to enhance links with the wider area
- delivering a range of new homes to meet the needs of the wider community
- creating a sustainable community with new facilities, including a primary school and local centre, that can be enjoyed by the wider community too
- creating a masterplan inspired by the landscape and providing access to green spaces on the edge of the Chiltern Hills and Wendover Wood
- providing the infrastructure for enhanced public transport in the area and improving existing roads and junctions
Over the past 2 years DIO has undertaken extensive engagement with stakeholders, including local authorities, carried out detailed studies and completed further financial modelling to understand the feasibility of our intended plans. We are also engaging with the museums to ensure that we understand their aspirations for the future development of the site and the museums are appropriately provided for as part of the new development. In May 2019, DIO hosted two public consultation events to gather feedback on the emerging proposals. Since then we have been working to build on the proposals, taking on board feedback from the consultation.
DIO is also monitoring the progress of the consultation on modifications to the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan which closed on December 17th. Once the consulted modifications have been delivered to the Planning Inspectorate, the RAF Halton project team will review them and identify how the proposals can best respond. DIO plans to update its proposals for RAF Halton and re-consult with the local community in Spring 2020.
Defence Estate Optimisation (DEO)
The DEO Portfolio is a long-term investment to modernise the Defence estate to support the military and their families, which will include investment in new homes, specialist work spaces, workshops and ranges as part of a 25-year strategy. The result of this investment will be a better structured, modern estate that offers long-term value for money to the tax-payer and will be better equipped to meet future needs.