Closure of Copthorne Barracks

Daniel Kawczynski MP has expressed concern in Westminster today over the announcement by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond that Copthorne Barracks is to close by 2015.

Daniel Kawczynski said:

“I am deeply saddened by today’s announcement.  Shrewsbury has a long history of hosting the army and I am very concerned as to what this will mean for Shrewsbury.  Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Defence, has agreed to meet with me and the Leaders of Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council in order to discuss what would be an appropriate future use of the site to maximise local prosperity and jobs.  I will also be seeking assurance from the Minister that there will be provision for TA reservists in Shrewsbury going forward.”

The Secretary of State stated that the full extent of the proposals for the Shrewsbury site are not yet known but would be pleased to meet with Mr Kawczynski and Council leaders as to the future disposal of part or all of the site.

Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler, Commander of 143 Brigade in the West Midlands said:

“It is sad news that 143 Brigade headquarters will be leaving Shrewsbury after such a long association with the town but the Army’s priority must be to focus its resources on its front line troops.  As the Regular Army reduces in size it will need fewer headquarters.  The brigade will therefore merge with 11th Signal Brigade at Donnington in 2015.   The majority of staff currently in Copthorne will transfer to Donnington.  The Defence Infrastructure Organization will work closely with the local authorities to ensure that the future of Copthorne Barracks meets the needs of the local community.  The provision for reservists in Shrewsbury is important to us and will be considered as part of the Army’s reserve basing study.  Whatever the final decision, the Army will endeavour to continue to maintain its strong bonds with Shrewsbury.”

Claro Barracks in Ripon North Yorkshire, Howe Barracks in Canterbury, Craigiehall Barracks in Edinburgh and Cawdor Barracks in Pembrookshire will no longer be required by the army and will be made available for disposal with parts of Redford Barracks in Edinburgh, Forthside Barracks in Stirling due to close.   The moves form part of the reorganisation of the army as soldiers return from Germany and pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.