YOUNG air cadets say they are "gutted" that their squadron is being forced to leave its home and insist some members will have to leave the group.

The 150 City of Oxford RAF Air Cadets have been based in a building owned by Magdalen College, Oxford, in Marston Road, Oxford, since the 1960s, but have been told the lease is not up for renewal. The college has insisted it is not behind the decision.

The squadron will be relocated to 2210 Cowley RAF Air Cadet's premises in Sandy Lane, Littlemore, next month. But the group says many cadets will quit as they are unable to travel.

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Oxford Mail: The 150 City of Oxford RAF Air CadetsThe 150 City of Oxford RAF Air Cadets

The area surrounding the HQ has been earmarked for housing in the Oxford Local Plan.

It is unclear who made the decision to discontinue the lease, but a cadet officer, who has chosen to stay anonymous, said the move was "incredibly frustrating", adding: "Many cadets are "gutted."

The officer said the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which sponsors the cadets, had a responsibility to find the squadron new premises, but that members were frustrated that space hasn't been found closer to their existing home.

The officer said: "We're frustrated because we don't think the MOD has looked properly for other properties in the city itself. Everyone is shocked.

Oxford Mail: The premise in Oxford (Google Maps)The premise in Oxford (Google Maps)

"I've been told the plan is unchangeable but a lot of cadets say they can't attend anymore as they can't get there. We're losing about half of our 45 cadets, it's vastly annoying. 

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"The benefits of being a cadet have been well documented because we attract children from different walks of life. 

"The development that we give them makes such an impact on their lives. We get someone who starts at 12 who is shy and introverted, and we teach them self-respect and leadership skills – and you see them grow and take control of their life.

"They spend about 18 months to two years with us and some go on and do phenomenal things.

Oxford Mail: "We teach them self-respect, leadership skills and you see them grow and take control of their life.""We teach them self-respect, leadership skills and you see them grow and take control of their life."

"But this is the end of an era. We've been told that's the way it is – end of."

A spokesman for Magdalen College said: "Magdalen College has not asked the air cadets to leave their premises in a month's time and has not refused to renew their lease.

"The college greatly values the air cadets and is very conscious of the important work that they do in the local community.

"As can be seen from the published Oxford Local Plan, the Marston Road site around St Clement's Church, is zoned for development in due course as housing, including affordable housing, which is sorely needed in Oxford.

"Any development which the college undertakes on the site would only proceed after full consultation and the appropriate planning process and would include the provision of local facilities for the air cadets as part of the development."

Oxford Mail: “We’ve been told that’s the way it is – end of.”“We’ve been told that’s the way it is – end of.”

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An MOD spokesperson said: “The lease for the building used by 150 City of Oxford Squadron Air Cadets is due to expire this year and we are consolidating two nearby sites to improve the training opportunities we offer.

“The new site, located three miles away, will allow 150 squadron to train alongside other cadets and access improved facilities.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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