March 29, 2022 12.30 pm

“Real potential” – council moves forward with plans to buy £1.6m RAF Woodhall Spa

A “wonderful opportunity” to create tourism and jobs

Council leaders have said buy the former RAF Woodhall Spa could be a “wonderful opportunity” to create tourism and jobs in East Lindsey.

Both ELDC and Lincolnshire County Council are interested in purchasing the Ministry of Defence site which has been declared “surplus public sector land”.

East Lindsey’s executive committee has now agreed to establish an up to £10,000 budget to explore whether it wants to proceed further.

Councillor Adam Grist, Portfolio Holder for Market Towns and the Rural Economy, said: “We’ve made a big play over the last few years about the need to further promote tourism opportunities… and there are some some real potential with this site.

“It’s well worth the money to undertake the feasibility work and see where that gets us but it is potentially a very good opportunity.”

Councillor Graham Marsh, Deputy Leader of the council and Portfolio Holder for Partnerships, said the “substantial site” had numerous uses and “could be good both economically and recreationally.

“If we have to borrow money to buy this we should because RAF land very rarely comes up for sale twice in somebody’s lifetime, it’s smack in the middle of our area and it gives us a wonderful opportunity to do all sorts of things in the future.”

The MOD values the land at around £1.6million – though East Lindsey believes that it could be worth £1.3million or less when clearance is taken into account.

The ground currently includes a golf club covering around 80% of it, which the report said faces closure from the RAF in the coming months.

The club is used by RAF Coningsby and officers said the course is “at best a municipal pay and play standard” and would take “significant investment” to attract private membership, especially considering other nearby courses.

Part of the site was also used as an emergency mortuary by the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum, which is overseen by LCC, during the COVID-19 pandemic and officers said the building was “in the best condition and could be repurposed for industrial or commercial use”.

RAF Woodhall Spa was opened as a satellite station to RAF Coningsby in February 1942.

During the Second World War it hosted the 617 “Dambusters” Squadron among others.

Lincolnshire County Council has been asked about its plans for the site.