US intelligence centre at Croughton given go ahead in £200m expansion

RAF Croughton is being hugely expanded
RAF Croughton is being hugely expanded

Croughton’s air force base - now a top European eavesdropping centre for the United States - has won planning consent for a huge expansion.

The new buildings permitted last week are part of a vast £200 million upgrade to intensify its top secret information channelling role between the USA and the rest of the world.

A �200m expansion will concentrate US spying operations at Croughton

A �200m expansion will concentrate US spying operations at Croughton

The former RAF bomber base, now fully operated by the USA, is set to become the centre for consolidated operations from other US intelligence groups based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire.

The new, ultra-secure Croughton could be staffed by 1,250 personnel covering operations in Africa, a current focus for US counter-terrorism activities.

South Northants Council approved the plans last Thursday.

Councillor Roger Clarke, SNC’s portfolio holder for planning and environment said: “The USAF felt the current structure was no longer adequate and this decision allows them to construct a purpose-built facility that will cater for their current and future operational needs.

“Last year they did announce they would be consolidating their UK facilities at Croughton, and we look forward to welcoming lots of new American service families to the district.”

Paul Mobbs of Croughtonwatch (fraw.org.uk/croughtonwatch) said: “Not surprisingly there was an almost simultaneous restatement of the importance of the UK-USA ‘special intelligence relationship’ post Brexit.

“I wonder to what extent the local councillors knew, or were even bothered about, the role the new expanded base will serve in mass public surveillance; and the directing of arguably unlawful drone operations in the Middle East and Africa.”