AT LEAST one RAF base in North Yorkshire is to close as the Ministry of Defence looks at making huge savings across its estate.

The air force is to leave RAF Linton-on-Ouse near York by 2020, it was confirmed yesterday, as part of wider cuts announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

A total of 91 sites owned or managed by the MoD are to be sold, including the home of the Red Arrows display team, RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

It will close in 2022 as part of a wider move to provide more “modern and efficient” military bases.

About 300 people work at the North Yorkshire air base, which is situated just off the A19 between York and Easingwold.

It has satellite stations at RAF Topcliffe and RAF Dishforth and also has connections with Alanbrooke Barracks near Busby Stoop. Question marks now remain over the future of these facilities.

Leader of Hambleton District Council, Cllr Mark Robson said they had been given assurances within the last 18 months that none of the Hambleton bases would close.

“This is very disappointing news – with 300 jobs affected on a long established base.  

“We were given reassurances only in the last 18 months that none of the Hambleton bases were to close so I would like to understand better what has brought this change about. 

“We will of course work to support the people affected by this news – including the local businesses.”

The base is used as a flying training centre, where fast jet pilots receive their basic instruction in Tucano training aircraft, which are being retired. At one point Prince William was trained at the centre, as he spent four months with the RAF.

It is believed the basic fast jet training will be transferred to RAF Valley in Anglesey, north Wales from 2019, where the advanced training already takes place.

RAF Linton-on-Ouse has been situated in the Hambleton village for 80 years, opening in 1937 as a bomber airfield.

Bombers were launched from Linton during the Second World War to drop propaganda leaflets over Germany and the base was eventually used to launch bombing raids over Italy, Germany and The Netherlands.

Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, said they were aware the future of the base looked to be in doubt and had been trying to avoid closure for a number of months.

The Northern Echo:

He said he would be working with Hambleton District Council to “make the best” of the opportunities ahead.

He said: "We have had meetings with constituents and we tried to suggest alternatives to the Ministry of Defence to avoid closure.

"It's very disappointing.”