Concern over plans to demolish RAF houses

Councillor Thomas Burns
Councillor Thomas Burns

A local councillor says the Ministry of Defence is to meet with the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council over plans to demolish around 300 houses at the former RAF Aldergrove site near Crumlin.

Thomas Burns said he is concerned that, while plans are underway to demolish 298 houses, areas like Crumlin and Antrim are in desperate need for more housing.

“Aldergrove is straight in the middle between Crumlin and Antrim,” he said.

“Surely some sort of arrangement can be made as it was at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn, to sell the houses or give them to a housing association.

“I know the officials are going to argue that by knocking these homes down it can cause a security risk but surely to destroy them seems such a huge waste.”

A spokesperson for the MoD said that the demolition project will not take place for some time.

“The properties gifted in the Lisburn area were not inside a controlled or secure area.

“In this instance all of the properties lie within the Aldergrove Station,” he said.

“Therefore, ignoring all other considerations, for security reasons alone it would be impossible to either sell or gift these properties.

“In terms of units to be demolished, the number to be removed is around 289.

“I’ve been informed demolition has not yet begun and won’t for some time.”

Aldergrove officially ceased to be an RAF Station on 20 September 2009 when, after the annual Battle of Britain parade, the RAF ensign was lowered for the last time and the Joint Helicopter Command flag was hoisted in its place.

Aldergrove is now home to the Joint Helicopter Force Northern Ireland (JHF(NI)), that provides Gazelle and Islander aircraft in support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and military units for Operation Helvetic, and for other operations abroad.