Page last updated at 08:37 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Navy pull-out 'will hit economy'

Joint Maritime Facility
The site will close in the summer

The closure of a military facility near Newquay in Cornwall will hit the local economy, the town's former mayor has said.

The US Navy is closing the Joint Maritime Facility (JMF), based at RAF St Mawgan and relocating to Virginia in the United States.

The centre is staffed by 110 US personnel, 70 British servicemen and women and nearly 40 civilians.

Patrick Lambshead said their departure would be a "significant loss".

Mr Lambshead said: "They will have used the pubs, the shops, the swimming facilities.

"Anything you can imagine that we all use they will have used and contributed to keeping them open and making them profitable.

"It is going to be a significant loss to the local economy."

In addition to the American staff there are also around 150 of their family members living in the area.

Dan Rogerson, MP for North Cornwall, said there would "undoubtedly" be an impact on the local economy.

He said it was important that military homes being vacated by staff from the JMF could be offered to local people needing affordable housing "as soon as possible".

Captain John Jones, the JMF commanding officer, said the relocation would mean "savings to the British taxpayers and US taxpayers".

Job losses

He said his personnel had established strong links to Cornwall: "these friendships will continue over the years, even after we leave," he added.

Twenty-two civilian staff at the site are to lose their jobs. Sixteen others will be offered relocation or redeployment opportunities.

About 45 British families are relocating to Virginia.

The JMF, staffed by the US Navy, Royal Navy and RAF, was commissioned in 1995 as a base for tracking submarines and watching over the Atlantic.

The move is expected to be completed by June.

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