Government u-turn confirms Brawdy closure

A CLOSURE date for Brawdy’s Cawdor Barracks has been confirmed as it is announced it will be shut in eight years.

Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced in Parliament on Monday (November 7) that the barracks, home to the 14th Signal Regiment, will close in 2024.

It had been earmarked for closure in 2013, not before 2018, but was given a reprieve when the plan was shelved last year amid concern about the spiralling costs of moving the regiment’s 600 soldiers to St Athans.

On Monday the defence secretary said that Brawdy was one of 50 sites that the Ministry of Defence would dispose of between now and 2040. This is in addition to 35 sites announced at the beginning of this year.

Mid and West Wales Labour AM, Eluned Morgan will ask an urgent question to the Welsh Government today.

 

“This announcement is sure to cause uncertainty for our army families and have wider economic impacts in both Pembrokeshire and Powys. Last year, the Tories gave assurances that the future of the Cawdor Barracks was safe. Now, it will be wound down and closed by 2024, with Brecon and Sennybridge following before 2027 with no clarity on where these personnel will be sent next. This is simply not good enough and the UK Government should have fully worked up their plans before going public. This announcement, made during Remembrance week, is a real kick in the teeth for our armed forces based in Wales,” she said.

“The loss of these sites will have a tangible economic impact. There’s absolutely no benefit to Mid and West Wales from these closures – quite the opposite, unlike areas of England where these new regional clusters will be formed. Our rural economy is under real pressure, from Brexit and the loss of EU funding. This undermines even further the little confidence I have that the UK Government will make up the losses that Wales faces. Even if these bases are sold off for housing, which is part of the UK Government’s plan, will they be affordable, what additional resources will be made available to ensure we have enough jobs for local families to be able to afford these new homes?” she added.

The plan will see sites and bases moved to locations that offer better opportunities for military families – increasing employment prospects for partners and spouses, helping them to settle into communities, buy their own homes and have their children benefit from more stable schooling.

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Jamie Adams, said the announcement that Cawdor Barracks at Brawdy is to close in 2024 as “something of a surprise.”

“A similar decision to close Cawdor Barracks was mooted three years ago” said Councillor Adams.

“Then, last year, it appeared an agreement had been reached and the Government announced the decision was to be shelved.

“Now it appears closure is back on the table again and it is very disappointing news.

“It is all very unsettling, not only for the civilian staff involved but also for the economic prosperity of Pembrokeshire.”

Brawdy is among more than 32,500 acres of excess defence land being released, including ten airfields and five golf courses.

As well as generating income to create a better defence estate the plans will provide enough land for 55,000 homes, helping the Government contribute to its target of 160,000 new homes by 2020. There will also be significant economic benefits, providing employment opportunities for construction and the service industries across the UK.

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