Consultation on army rebasing plans

AS plans to relocate 4,000 extra soldiers to Salisbury Plain move ahead, the public are being asked for their views on the £800m project.

A six-week consultation is underway to gauge people’s views on where the 1,181 extra houses needed to accommodate the service personnel and their families should be built.

Plans to bring thousands of soldiers to the Salisbury Plain area before 2020 were announced by the Ministry of Defence last March, as troops return to the UK from Germany.

While some facilities will be provided “inside the wire”, many new houses and amenities will need to be built in residential areas of Bulford, Larkhill, Tidworth, Upavon and Perham Down.

Several possible areas have been identified for the new housing estates. Some of the sites are closer to local facilities including shops and schools, and the army bases, meaning there would be fewer extra cars on the already busy roads.

One option at Larkhill involves building south of the Packway. However, planning restrictions that currently ban construction in this area due to its proximity to Stonehenge would need to be overturned first.

The plans also involve new accommodation blocks for single soldiers and the construction and conversion of other buildings including garages, armouries, offices and mess facilities. The army and Wiltshire Council are working together to ensure there are enough school places, medical facilities and other infrastructure in place, although concerns have been raised about increased pressure on the road network, Salisbury District Hospital and doctors’ and dental practices.

Colonel Neill Page, deputy team leader of the Army Basing Team said: “The development of Salisbury Plain is critical to the successful delivery of the future army structure and the military capabilities that it provides. Salisbury Plain is the only place in the country which can accommodate the complex and demanding training exercises needed to maintain operational effectiveness for the three brigades that will form the Army 2020 Reaction Force construct. By basing the three brigades together on Salisbury Plain we will be able to form a cohesive reaction force where troops live, work and train together, supported by force troops command assets.”

A public meeting on the plans is to be held at Wellington Academy in Ludgershall on Monday, March 3 at 7pm.

There will are also exhibitions and comment forms in local libraries, and questions can be sent to DIO-ArmyBasing@mod.uk.

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