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New quarters are a step in the right direction
HAVING lived in married quarters for much of my service life, some good, some terrible, the issue is one that I follow with interest.
The new Canadian Estate of 260 homes that is being built at Bulford is an example of some of the good work that is being carried out by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), formerly Defence Estates.
The estate was visited recently by Mark Francois MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, where he met Lance Corporal Paul Burgon, Royal Signals, and handed over the key to his new quarters.
Mr Francois was enthusiastic about the Canadian Estate.
“I have got to say that it is impressive,” he said. “These houses are being built to all the modern standards.
“I hope that the people who are going to move in here are really going to enjoy it.”
I was then interested to see a full page advertisement in the Journal offering ten married quarters for sale in Netheravon, Fifefield and Warminster, plus the old ex- RAF Munitions Store at Chilmark.
With 20,000 soldiers being withdrawn from Germany by 2020 and plans to expand the Salisbury Plain garrisons by the addition of a brigade headquarters and other troops, I was surprised at this move.
The plans for Future Force 2020 have been delayed, and I was interested in why quarters were being sold off when we were expecting an increase in the size of the garrison.
The response from the DIO was that the properties were surplus to requirements and were therefore offered to sitting tenants. The ten being advertised were those that tenants either didn’t want or couldn’t purchase.
A spokesman said: “MoD examines ways of improving military capability and value for money for the taxpayer.
“As part of this approach we keep the size and location of bases under review to ensure it is no larger than necessary to meet needs.”