Leuchars community would be ‘devastated’ by closure

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CLOSING RAF Leuchars would have a devastating effect on the community and voluntary sector, reports Stuart Gillespie.

That’s according to the task force fighting to save the air base amid speculation it could be axed as part of defence spending cuts.

The Residents Action Force says numerous civilian jobs and local organisations would be under threat should the Ministry of Defence decide to close the base.

Carroll Finnie, vice-chair of the group, said: “Many organisations would be severely hit but most probably disbanded if the RAF base in Leuchars was removed.”

At-risk groups include the Leuchars Youth Project, a children’s drama club and several activities run from the RAF community centre.

The RAF chaplaincy would be lost to the village, as would the Bright Horizons nursery, which takes non-RAF children.

Service personnel also do good work locally through the station’s conservation and charity groups, while the Air Training Corps, cubs, scouts and brownies are run from the base and open to all young people.

Ms Finnie added: “A care home for the elderly in the village also relies on the families of RAF personnel to work as care assistants, cooks and cleaners.

“Leuchars Golf Club employs six full-time staff who are the partners of RAF personnel and many wives are employed as childminders.

“If the base closed, many civilians in the area may have to give up their jobs.”

Meanwhile, the Residents Action Force has launched an official website.

SaveRAFLeuchars.org will provide an online hub for information on the fight to save the under-threat air base.

Fraser Phillips, chair of the group, said: “The campaign to save RAF Leuchars has stepped up a gear.

“People can access the website to find out what’s been going on and read more about the strategic, economic and community reasons for keeping an RAF base in Leuchars.

“We believe that decisions will be made on the future of the air base before the summer and it’s our intention to keep up the pressure on the Ministry of Defence and UK Government that Leuchars is a vital location for an RAF air base.”

A number of ‘Keep the RAF in Leuchars’ banners have also been produced by the group, to be rolled out across Fife.