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Local people 'must be consulted' on army plans
PEOPLE need to be properly consulted ahead of thousands of army families being rebased in south Wiltshire, a local councillor has warned.
Wiltshire councillor Graham Wright, from Durrington, says the MoD needs to consult local people with local knowledge to find the most appropriate sites to build homes for soldiers and their families.
The call comes after people were given just six days to comment on the first stage of plans for 500 homes near Larkhill.
The homes plan is part of a wider move that will see about 4,000 soldiers and their families moving to the garrisons of Tidworth, Bulford and Larkhill as part of the Army 2020 rebasing project.
Cllr Wright said: “We welcome the army coming back, but quality decisions are important to all of us and rushing plans through at the last minute is no way to deliver a sustainable future for our communities. Local opinion is invaluable.”
About 130 people attended a recent public meeting to discuss the potential sites, and Durrington Town Council received 400 written replies, which Cllr Wright said is the biggest response to a single issue the village has ever had.
He added that there was overwhelming support for service personnel returning to the UK from Germany, and the majority of people saw the benefits for Wiltshire as a whole, but getting the right location is crucial.
He also said if the MoD is to get planning applications approved within the agreed timeframe of late next year they will need to “get their act together”.
Villagers at the meeting said they didn’t want a large site next to the A345 in Durrington as a green space between Durrington and Larkhill needed to be maintained and sites next to the garrison facilities and existing forces accommodation made more sense, especially as they are brown field sites.
At the meeting 35 residents signed up to be part of a team making sure that both local people and the service families get the best from the 2020 plans.
Cllr Wright said the public needs to keep an eye out for the next stage in early 2014 and make sure they have their say during the consultation. Anyone who wants to know more or to speak to the residents’ team can contact them through Cllr Wright at email@example.com.
• The 2020 rebasing project will see 12,000 British troops returning from Germany by the end of 2015 and the final 4,000 back by 2019.
Wiltshire as a whole will have about 4,000 soldiers and their families moving to the garrisons of Tidworth, Bulford and Larkhill and, by 2018, Wiltshire will be home to 28 per cent of the British Army.
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