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LONDON-The United States Air Force has agreed a new ten-year lease with Ashtenne Holdings on 570 houses at the Lakenheath airbase in Suffolk Under the new lease the rent will rise from £4 million ($6.4 million) to £4.5 million ($7.3 million) within the first five years. During the following five years the rent will be increased in increments to £5.2 million ($8.4 million) per annum in years nine and ten.

The estate provides accommodation for personnel supporting the two USAF air bases at Mildenhall and Lakenheath. Ashtenne bought the Lakenheath Estate in 2001, as part of the Ascot portfolio. Then, 640 houses were then let to the USAF at a net rent of £3.2 million ($5.2 million) per annum. In the first five months of 2003 Ashtenne sold 70 houses previously occupied by USAF for £7.5 million ($12 million).

And demand for housing at the base is expected to fall, and therefore from year five, USAF will hand back more of the houses to Ashtenne in tranches of 90-100 per year with proportional reductions in rent payable.

Ashtenne joint chief executive Morgan Jones said: “This deal reflects Ashtenne’s strategy of managing its properties actively by working closely with tenants to reach mutually beneficial agreements.”

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