Ghost town created after RAF move out

Old stone steps leading to house and home

A ghost town has been created, after the Ministry of Defence closed its RAF base, leaving a housing estate in a village near York abandoned.

The whole housing estate in the village of Linton on Ouse, near York, was left unoccupied when the Ministry of Defence closed its RAF base, RAF Linton on Ouse. The village has housed families connected to the base since 1937 where, since 1957, the airfield’s main role has been the training of pilots. However, most flying training ceased in 2019 and the Military Air Traffic Zone was rescinded in December 2020.

After months of concern, while contractors carried out checks and repairs on the empty properties, the remaining residents say the village now feels like a ‘ghost town’.

Numbers at the village’s primary school have halved and the school has no information about the number of children it may be expected to accommodate next year.

One woman said she and her two children were the last to leave their street of 20 homes. She had enquired about buying the property but her request had been rejected, as all the properties were due to be transferred from the Ministry of Defence back to Annington Homes on 9th February 2022. Annington Homes owns over 40,000 private rented homes in the UK and specialises in providing homes for the Ministry of Defence. The family now lives in another property 100 metres away from their old house, but have been told they can’t live there permanently as their new home will also be transferred back to Annington Homes in a year’s time.

She said: “We were the last ones to leave the little cul de sac in Linton Meadow. We were there on our own for about a month and it wasn’t very nice. I felt like the man in the film Up, where he stayed in his house and all this building was going on around him. There were so many contractors doing things to houses.

“It did feel very uneasy. September, October, November was a real unsettled time. It wasn’t pleasant at all. It was really upsetting to be honest, because there was so much uncertainty.

“I don’t want to move the children’s school. We’ve got medical care – both for myself and my daughter – at the local hospital, so we didn’t want to move.”

The Ministry of Defence sub-lets 160 homes in the village from Annington Homes. All of the tenants of the properties were served with eviction notices with a deadline of the end of last year.

The remaining 104 homes have an uncertain future, including 84 properties located on the military base itself, and most could stand empty for at least another year.

Rightmove estimates the average price of properties in Linton On Ouse at £302,643 over the last year. Most were semi-detached properties, averaging £261,667, while detached properties sold for an average £375,833. Terraced properties averaged £206,000. Average house prices in the village were up 13% on the previous year and 19% up on the previous highest price of £253,661 in 2016.