Officials brief residents on changes at meeting
April 2, 2008
RAF LAKENHEATH, Base officials held long-awaited town hall meetings last week on three U.S. military housing areas’ futures, which could force more than 130 families to move as part of uncertain and unrenewed lease agreements.
Ninety-five families will be relocated by Oct. 31 from Newmarket’s Studlands Park and Soham housing areas after the leaseholder refused to renew the Air Force’s lease earlier this year, according to officials at one town hall meeting.
During a second meeting, residents of Anglo Housing, or Lords Walk, were told that almost 40 families may be moved starting in July if ongoing lease negotiations fall through.
They also were informed that their gated community would be pushed off base on May 31 when the reconstructed Gate 2 opens. A new perimeter fence has been built across from the homes along Radcliffe Road.
Col. John Clarke, 48th Mission Support Group commander, offered slide shows explaining lease expiration dates and affected homes during the town hall meetings at the base theater March 26. About 400 residents attended.
He asked all residents to fill out information sheets with personal details and housing location preference to expedite the arduous process.
“We’re trying to get this all squared away within the next couple of weeks to a month, so everybody has an idea of what’s going on,” Clarke said of the “monumental task” ahead. “If there’s a special circumstance that we need to work, we’re going to work it the best we can.”
The sheets are available at the Lakenheath Housing Office for anyone who couldn’t attend the meetings.
As for prioritizing which families get moved first, Clarke said that housing officials will look at a number of areas, such as deployments, dates of when people are expected to leave the country and any other special circumstances.
“I suspect that we’re going to have a little bit of clumping in certain areas where people want to go,” he said. “I am not sure I can make all of that work out perfectly. It’s not definitive, that’s the problem,” he said referring to the requests for housing.
He also stressed to families that it would be tough to get a home at Lakenheath’s modern, on-base Liberty Village.
“My numbers are so limited there,” he said. “It’s hard to promise anything in Liberty Village.”
Residents will be moved at government expense. They also will be given a moving allowance of $617 per family. An extra $482 will be paid to families moving to British rental properties.
“If you choose to move out on the economy, you can get an additional chunk of money to help you,” he said.
For more information on these issues, contact the housing office at 226-2000, option 3.
Changes at LakenheathStudlands Park and Soham housing areas
Number of homes: 348 units at Studlands, 23 at Soham.Families to relocate: 95.Relocation times: From April to Oct. 31.Lease expires: Dec. 31.Anglo Housing (Lords Walk)