Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 08:51 UK

RAF airbase buyout vote under way

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

Voting is under way on a proposal which could lead to a community buyout of one of Scotland's biggest Cold War sites.

The plan is for a community business to take over the 1,000-acre former RAF Machrihanish site, near Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula.

The MoD is prepared to sell it to a community business for just £1.

Although there is little opposition to the idea, supporters are worried because half of the electorate needs to take part for the result to be valid.

The RAF Machrihanish site includes a 10,000ft (3,000m) runway - one of the longest in Europe.

Since the military pulled out in the mid-90s, much of the site has been largely empty.

The people behind the community business hope the buyout could give them the opportunity to develop the site over time and create jobs.

Cold war

The alternative is for the MoD to sell it commercially on the open market.

A postal vote is under way in South Kintyre on the proposal.

While there is no organised opposition, there are sceptics.

They either want to know more or question what the buyout will actually achieve.

However the bigger concern for the backers is that turnout may be too low.

The Machrihanish 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.

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

This would not be part of the sale.



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