Planning inspectorate uphold objections on St Athan

Goodbye St Athan & Metrix

Will college setback benefit Blandford camp?

Blandford Camp could benefit from a setback for a planned £12 billion defence training college in Wales.
The government’s planning inspectorate recently upheld objections over compulsory land purchase for access roads to a proposed tri-service academy at St Athan.
Now Max Wallis, who spoke at a public inquiry on behalf of Friends of the Earth, says Blandford’s training base could benefit from the inspectorate’s ruling.
“We found the whole St Athan project is severely scaled down, which removes all logic for building a new college from scratch,” said Mr Wallis.
He said evidence given to the public inquiry by MoD officials revealed the capacity of the proposed college to have been scaled back from 6,000 trainees to 2,700.
“The 4,000 units of accommodation and associated facilities at the Blandford base would be more than sufficient.
“Little new-build would be needed for service family accommodation, unlike the 473 units planned at St Athan at around £100 million from the MoD.
“If the tri-service training was sited at Blandford, the 200 administrative staff would not need to move to St Athan or be paid redundancy,” said Mr Wallis.
North Dorset MP Bob Walter, who has served as president of the inter-parliamentary European Security and Defence Assembly, said the St Athan project had cost the MoD about £500 million a year and could be shelved in the new government’s Strategic Defence Review.
“Blandford Camp is perfectly capable of continuing to provide first class training in information and communication systems, which is why the MoD committed £100 million of funds to it about 10 years ago,” said Mr Walter.
An MoD spokesperson said the department was awaiting the decision of the Welsh Assembly’s first minister.

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