Criticism of RAF as skydive club closes

Weston Skydive at RAF Weston-on-the-Green is closed.'110816M-D137

Weston Skydive at RAF Weston-on-the-Green is closed.'110816M-D137

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A SKYDIVE club based at RAF Weston-on-the-Green announced its closure last week after its lease was not renewed.

A statement posted on Skydive Weston’s website said the club was now closed until further notice.

“Skydive Weston was a civilian company, operating from an RAF dropzone. We paid the RAF rent for the use of the land and facilities which are owned by the MoD.

“The RAF have decided not to renew our lease, or let us operate until a new RAF association can be formed. This was due to happen on June 18 but we are now told ‘maybe next year’,” the statement said.

The club said it had made an offer to support military training at the airfield, which it estimated would have saved the MoD £45,000 by the end of the year.

It said it had spent months trying to get its lease renewed, but had been, ‘frustrated at every turn.’

In a response, an RAF spokesman said: “Skydive Weston were formally advised in January 2011 that their lease would expire and not be renewed in June 2011 due to the emerging plans to develop RAF Weston-on-the-Green into a Force Development Training Centre for service personnel.”

It said the review process would look at the possibility of generating income, and the best use of facilities at the station.

The RAF said it planned to restart weekend parachute jumps once the review was complete.