Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 12:53 UK

Jobs to go with sale of airbase

Campbeltown airport
Part of the former RAF base is used as Campbeltown airport

The former RAF airbase at Machrihanish in Kintyre is to be sold, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

Twenty jobs will go as a result but the MoD said the section of the site used as Campbeltown airport would not be threatened.

The MoD has promised to consult with the local community before the final sale goes ahead.

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid has warned the base should not simply be sold to the highest bidder.

The Liberal Democrat MP said: "The Ministry of Defence, the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council must work together to ensure that the site is developed to secure the maximum benefit to the Kintyre community.

"The development potential of the Machrihanish site must be seized to create employment."

Machrihanish, three miles from Campbeltown, is in many ways a relic of the Cold War.

The airport has the longest runway in Europe, at more than 3,000m.

The base was used to house one of only three US Navy Special Warfare teams in the world, as well as an American Seal commando unit and Royal Marines.

The future of Campbeltown Airport has been at the forefront of our discussions and options were considered by all those involved to safeguard the airport's future.
Ian Hay
Ministry of Defence
Twenty facilities management staff and security guards will lose their jobs but the MoD said there may be opportunities for them to provide services to the existing tenants, or transfer their employment to the new owners.

Highlands and Islands Airports leases part of the site for use as Campbeltown airport.

The MoD said it would ensure the transport link would not be threatened by the sale.

Ian Hay, head of disposals for defence estates, said: "Whenever we decide to sell a military site, one of our top priorities is to try and accommodate current tenants, and find buyers who will provide long term benefits to the local community.

"For Machrihanish we are already engaging with Argyll and Bute Council and local groups to try and secure the best outcome for Kintyre.

He added: "The future of Campbeltown Airport has been at the forefront of our discussions and options were considered by all those involved to safeguard the airport's future.

"In partnership with the Scottish Government we are moving forward on this issue."


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