The government’s Army Basing announcement in March 2013 advised of around 4,300 extra Service personnel moving to Wiltshire by the end of the decade. They will be accompanied by their families, bringing the total number of additional people estimated to be moving to the area to 7,600. These plans will require additional levels of infrastructure and services to be provided by Wiltshire Council. The MOD has recently reviewed the figures as the relocations draw nearer and now expect the net addition of Service personnel to total 4,000. Accordingly the expected net increase in population will be a little over 7,000.
January 2016 Update
DIO continues to progress its planning applications for the Army Basing Programme (ABP).
All three major applications for the Service Family Accommodation (SFA) housing developments across the basing area have been submitted by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). The applications can be viewed online on Wiltshire Council’s planning web-pages. They will provide a total of 917 family homes across Bulford, Ludgershall and Larkhill in addition to the purchase of 100 homes at Tidworth. They will be considered in the New Year.
DIO and Wiltshire Council are both keen to finalise the s106 agreement which will confirm the proposed MOD contributions to infrastructure to support the planning applications. There are other detailed planning issues to be resolved following the comments received during the consultation period. For example, DIO is working closely with Wiltshire Council and other statutory authorities to ensure the requirements of the River Avon Nutrient Management Plan and the Salisbury Plain Water Management Strategy are met. The MOD is addressing these matters and expect to have further details at the end of January which should resolve the matters raised and enable the three SFA applications to be determined via the Strategic Planning Committee and the main development within the camps through delegated powers, soon thereafter.
Plans for the main redevelopment within the camps at Ludgershall, Tidworth, Bulford and Larkhill have been submitted and are currently being assessed by Wiltshire Council. The planning application for the work required at Upavon which will see a number of new buildings and extensions to existing buildings to provide additional training, living, mess and technical facilities, is due to be submitted in March 2016. The Upavon site entrance will also be improved for better access to and from the site.
Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR)
The government has recently published its SDSR (entitled: National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 – A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom). The paper sets out the direction of the MOD for the next five years. It confirms that the government will increase the MOD’s budget by 3.1% in real terms to 2019-20 as part of its commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. In particular it confirms the regular army will be maintained at a force of 82,000 as was announced in the Army 2020 review in 2012 and the Army Basing plans to relocate the final army units from Germany to the Salisbury Plain area by 2020.
5 RIFLES Relocation to Bulford and School Places
5 Rifles will relocate to Wiltshire during the summer of 2016 from Germany, as planned. Accordingly, the planned expansion of schools (St Leonard’s and Kiwi) required to cater for 5 RIFLES’ relocation and other places needed for increases in population not attributed to Army Basing is progressing. Planning permission on the two applications submitted by Wiltshire Council has now been granted, which will enable the expansion works to continue to schedule. That for St Leonards Primary (Bulford) was obtained on 29 September and planning permission for Kiwi Primary was granted on 17 December 2015. Additional places will be available at St Leonard’s for the final school term in this academic year (i.e. April 2016), with work having commenced on site in November 2015, and at Kiwi by summer 2016, in time for the children of the families from 5 RIFLES. A series of liaison visits are planned in 2016 for the families to visit Wiltshire and Wiltshire Council and other authorities to present to families in Germany so they can register for education, health and other services.
St Michael’s Primary School
As announced at the last area board, the MOD has confirmed that the final units relocating to Wiltshire from Germany under the ABP will arrive in 2019. Wiltshire Council had been planning the transfer of St Michael’s Primary school to Larkhill by 2017, should the MOD have sought to accelerate its moves under the programme. As the new building will be designed and built to accommodate the additional school children from Germany as well as existing classes from the Figheldean premises, it has been decided to arrange completion for 2018. Conceptual plans of the new school have been drawn up by architects, commissioned by Wiltshire Council. It is understood that the governors of the school will be holding a meeting for parents and local people in late January 2016 where these plans will be available for viewing and further information on the school will be provided.
The local Steering Group (SG) comprising Ludgershall Town Council, Wiltshire Council, the NHS, local health surgeries, MOD representation and the Community Engagement Manager met on 18th November to consider what type of community groups or activities could be accommodated in the building within Corunna Barracks which is being provided by MOD as part of the s106 contributions. To date ideas include facilities for early years, a police office, welfare, a medical room for the local GP surgery, council chamber and meeting rooms. Another meeting will be held in January 2016. Wiltshire Council has agreed to provide modest funding to adapt the building to meet the needs of its future use. It is hoped to have the facility available when the first families move to the Ludgershall SFA site. The group is seeking grant funding to support the facility.