Letter: Stop the countryside becoming a military casualty

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Sir: Ruth Picardie ('Politics, pah] We're all in clover', 23 April) paints an idyllic picture of life in rural Oxfordshire; long may it continue. Her relief from the noise of F-111s once based at Upper Heyford does question whether local people are aware of what the MoD might yet impose on them if east Suffolk's experience is the precedent for the redundant bases.

RAF Bentwaters, partly in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, far from any large town, trunk road or mainline railway, was once home to 13,000 Americans. The ministry insists that only further substantial development will enable developers to pay for any restoration of the landscape. The impact of further suburbanisation on beautiful countryside can be imagined.

Although both county and district councils are resisting the worst MoD scenario, they cannot agree about the level of development needed to secure a viable community. Families moving into empty houses understandably want essential services such as shops and doctors. The Suffolk Preservation Society (county branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England) has for months been trying to raise these problems at national level, with little success. People of Upper Heyford take note.

Yours faithfully,



Suffolk Preservation Society

Lavenham, Suffolk