The future of 70 civilian posts at the Prince William of Gloucester barracks in Grantham are in doubt after the Government announced yesterday it was selling the site for housing.
The MoD announced the barracks was one of 13 sites in the country it will sell off for housing, raising £225 million.
An MoD spokesman told the Journal: “Civilian staff whose posts are considered surplus as a consequence of this decision will be managed in accordance with Departmental policy and processes. Formal Trade Union and staff association consultation will be initiated well in advance of any closure.”
The MoD also said military personnel will be relocated with their unit or re-assigned. The sale will not happened before 2020, when the current parliament ends.
It said that 4,200 homes could be built on the MoD land and a further 2,800 homes could be built as part of a ‘garden town’ extension.
The barracks were established in 1976 and are the home of Headquarters Royal Logistic Corps Army Reserve and of the Army Training Regiment. It first became a station for the Royal Flying Corps in 1915 and it was finally vacated by the RAF in 1975. Darren Joint, chairman of Grantham Business Club, said: “It is a loss and an opportunity. “From change comes opportunities that cannot be foreseen. “But in the medium term, it will be difficult for the town if people move away because the barracks are closed.” Leader of South Kesteven District Council and Grantham councillor Bob Adams said: “It will be sad to lose that connection with the Armed Forces in Grantham but we need to examine the statement by the MoD before we can fully understand what it means for the site.”
Grantham district councillor Ray Wootten is attending an event at the barracks on September 29 to mark the 100 years of a military presence on the site. Coun Wootten said: “It’s a sad day for Grantham if they are going to sell off that land for housing. Care must be taken to preserve the historical connection with the barracks, but I hope that there is a change of mind on the closure.” It is thought barracks site could provide neough space for up to 4,000 houses but this has to be confirmed. SKDC Strategic Director for Development and Growth, Steve Ingram said: “The Council will need to carefully assess the potential implications of the Government’s announcement when we have all the details from the Ministry of Defence. “Whilst the proposed closure of the Barracks is a concern – if the Government is positively committed to the appropriate re-use and re-development of this strategic site – then it could have a significant and important part to play in the future long-term growth and prosperity of Grantham.
“Obviously the Council, in respect of its role as the Local Planning Authority, will have to carefully examine the Government’s proposals for the site as they start to emerge.” The sale was announced by Mark Lancaster, under secretary of state for defence. He said: ”I can confirm the expected release of 13 sites. “These will contribute some £225 million toward the MOD’s £1 billion target for land release sales as set out in spending review 2015. “These sites also contribute to the Government commitment to provide land for 160,000 homes in this Parliament.
“The intent to dispose of these 13 sites will provide land for up to 17,017 homes (of which some 12,565 are expected to materialise in this Parliament). He added: “This strategy aims to better support military capability and force generation; allow the formation of clusters of sites which facilitate the collocation of similar functions and thereby reduce running costs through shared resources; as well as dispose of under-utilised sites for which there is no longer a long-term Defence requirement.” He added: “I acknowledge that these moves will have an impact upon civilian and military staff; the Department is making arrangements to provide for units and functions based at sites which will not have a future Defence requirement. “I will make a further announcement on the sequencing and timing of these moves later this year.”