THE RAF is pulling the plug on skydiving at an Oxfordshire base – forcing a 40-year-old parachute club to close.

Skydive Weston says it is being made homeless as a result of a nationwide Ministry of Defence review affecting RAF Weston-on-the-Green, near Bicester.

The RAF says the 500-member club can stay at the base – but will not be allowed to fly from there.

Ash Kemp, who runs Skydive Weston with Steve Scott, said: “The business will just collapse. We have got nowhere else to go, the club has gone and the business has gone.

“It was a great club at Weston-on-the-Green, probably one of the best in the country and we have produced more world and national champions than any other.”

The MoD said that it was carrying out a review to decide the best use of the site.

Skydive Weston was told last September its lease would not be renewed, but talks continued with the RAF base’s management.

Mr Kemp said: “We gave them five proposals which would generate income of £500,000 over five years.

“The fifth option was we pack up and take our business elsewhere.”

Mr Kemp said the MoD had seemed keen on letting the club, which also arranges charity jumps, continuing operating from the base.

But it was told that while it could use the buildings, it would not be able to fly from the site.

Mr Kemp said a charity skydive had to be cancelled the day before it was due to take place and he had been forced to cancel other bookings and refund deposits taken in good faith.

Club members handed in a 500 signature petition to the RAF, but to no avail.

Air Vice-Marshal Mark Green told the Oxford Mail: “The purpose of this work to confirm the military requirement at RAF Weston-on-the-Green, including future joint services adventurous training, is to examine and exploit the benefits of the site for our service personnel.

“Once our plans are completed, should any spare capacity be identified, I will endeavour to ensure that it be put to the best possible use.

“This may well include collaboration with an organisation such as Skydive Weston in the future.”