Old RAF base 'ideal for refugees from Bosnia'

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The Independent Online
CHURCHMEN and councillors in Chessington, Surrey, have asked the Government to turn a former RAF base into a shelter for Bosnian refugees. They say the 34-acre (13.75 hectare) site would be an ideal home for families fleeing the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. The base was fully refurbished in preparation for casualties from the Gulf war.

David Campanale, one of seven local Liberal Democrat councillors supporting the proposal, said reports of Serbian-run concentration camps had added to pressure on the British government to do more for the refugees.

He said: 'I think the Government has underestimated the willingness of the British people to help in this tragedy. There is no shortage of sites like this in Britain. We have approached the Overseas Development Agency directly with this suggestion.'

The recent refurbishment of RAF Chessington, which was also used by the US air force, cost pounds 750,000. Living accommodation was decorated and central heating installed. The base also has a hospital.

Mr Campanale said: 'This isn't just any base, it has state-of- the-art medical facilities. It was designed to cope with hundreds of wounded soldiers and could easily house hundreds of families until it is safe for them to go home.'

(Photograph omitted)

Bosnia crisis, page 8