Cawdor Barracks "not fit for purpose" and WILL close after 2018
2:01pm Tuesday 5th March 2013 in News
Cawdor Barracks WILL be closed the Defence Secretary announced today but not before 2018.
Fears for the future of the former Brawdy base have been growing as the Ministry of Defence faces tough decisions in light of budget cuts.
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb had been making a strong case to retain the base near St Davids but the implementation of the Army Basing Plan, announced by Philip Hammond will move the 14th Signal Regiment from Pembrokeshire.
He told the House of Commons that Cawdor Barracks was no longer fit for purpose and the released site could be developed for job creation with the Welsh Government.
The plan will see the army returned from Germany over the next few years and reorganising it to deliver Army 2020.
Mr Crabb's "sensible representations" to Mr Hammond has resulted in an agreement to not moue the regiment from Cawdor Barracks before 2018 when they will move to St Athan near Cardiff.
A letter from the MoD states: "I am aware that there is a close affinity between the local community and the soldiers in Cawdor Barracks and we are grateful for the support provided by the people of Pembrokeshire.
"At some stage, not before 2018, the regiment will move to St Athan and Cawdor Barracks will become available for residential or commercial development; I know that you have been very keen to ensure that whatever happens to Cawdor Barracks, it is for the benefit of your constituents and your constituency. Whilst I appreciate the decision to move the regiment will be disappointing, I hope the delay of five years is helpful."
Commenting after today’s statement by the Defence Secretary, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, about the Army Basing Plan, Stephen Crabb MP said: "I am obviously very disappointed that the 14 Signals will be relocated from Cawdor Barracks to St Asaph in the Vale of Glamorgan as part of the Government's major investment at that site. An enormous bond of goodwill and friendship has developed between the people of Pembrokeshire and the Regiment over the 15 years that they have been based here, and the soldiers and their families will be greatly missed.
"Throughout that period questions have been raised about the suitability of the old RAF Brawdy base as a long term home for these electronic warfare specialists, and the decision has now been made to co-locate them alongside other military units at the large St Athans site. Despite making a strong case for retaining the Regiment in Pembrokeshire, we have to accept that these decisions have to be made on military grounds.
“I welcome the fact that the Minister has agreed to delay the Regiment’s move by five years following my representations. This does give adequate time for planning alternative uses of the Cawdor site and the military houses in Haverfordwest. But today's announcement is nevertheless disappointing.
"The Minister of State, Andrew Robathan MP, will be visiting Cawdor Barracks later in the spring with me to explore some of these alternative plans.”
The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council described the news as “a terrible blow for Pembrokeshire”.
Councillor Jamie Adams said: “This is a sad day for our County.
“We estimate that around 250 Cawdor Barracks personnel and their families are based in Pembrokeshire at any one time. We can ill afford to lose them and the money they spend which helps boost the local economy.
“Today’s announcement also severs the historic link between this part of Pembrokeshire and the military which stretches back nearly 70 years
“Indeed during this time the base has been used by all three arms of the military – Army, Navy and Air Force.
“We will be pressing the Government to help us look for alternative uses for the site.”