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Paper 5 - 26 November 1999 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT AUTHORITIES

26 November 1999

THE STRATEGIC DEFENCE REVIEW Joint Report by Hampshire County Council and Gosport Borough Council Chief Executives

Recommendations

1. That the Association continues to maintain a watching brief on the Strategic Defence Review as the issues and principles set out in the paper are clarified as the Review is implemented.

2. That, where appropriate, the Association lends support to individual Authorities where decisions flowing from the Review continue to affect particular localities.

3. That the Association recognises and continues to support the work of Member Authorities, Hampshire Economic Partnership, the Training and Enterprise Council, and Business Link in supporting defence dependant firms and encouraging diversification into other areas.

4. That the Association continues to highlight the fact that the needs of the defence sector are effectively dealt with in the emerging SEEDA Regional Economic Strategy.

1. Introduction

1.1 The Association decided to keep a watching brief on the Strategic Defence Review as issues and principles became more clear.
1.2 This report sets out by district or unitary area the impact of the implementation of the Review to-date, as well as some general comments on the cross cutting issues raised.

2. The Review

2.1 Implementation of the recommendations in the Review has begun and in most respects is following the proposed timetable. However, since July 1998, certain issues have emerged which have altered the detail. These include decisions on:-

The use of training areas.

The restructuring of the Territorial Army.

English Heritage and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport guidelines for the disposal of historic buildings.

The changing international situation.

3. Progress with implementation by District/Unitary area

3.1 Rushmoor

3.1.1 The Parachute Regiment will move to Colchester and three regiments will move in to Aldershot.

3.1.2 The present strength of the Aldershot Garrison is 7,500 and is expected to increase to 8,500-9,000. This is the "hoped for" figure and it is dependent on recruiting. The net increase in Aldershot will be about 850 service personnel and some 200 vehicles. As parachute battalions tend to have more single men than infantry regiments, the number of dependants may increase which will have an impact on the type of housing required and on services such as education.

3.1.3 The Head Quarters of the 4th Division will continue to be at Aldershot, although much of their core activities have been privatised, including administrative support.

3.1.4 The military town is going through a construction phase, including a further infantry barracks on the Mons Barracks site.

3.1.5 The sports centre on Queens Avenue has been upgraded and a new garrison swimming bath is planned.

3.1.6 HQ Lands have received the final report from Entec, the Aldershot Establishment Development Plan consultants. As a result HQ Lands have established a management team to undertake a scoping study to determine the viability and market interest in the potential redevelopment of Aldershot garrison under a Public Private Partnership arrangement. The report is due to be completed by the end of 1999.

3.1.7 The Ministry of Defence are investigating the possibility of 'quasi' partnering arrangements with the National Health Service, whereby the Ministry of Defence would lease space within a medical facility built on Ministry of Defence land in Aldershot by the National Health Service development agency.

3.1.8 The Government is currently considering the possibility of a Public Private Partnership for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) to strengthen its ability to continue to provide world class scientific research well into the next century. The consultation exercise is drawing to a close and the responses received from interested parties are being analysed with a view to making final recommendations to Ministers. Meanwhile there is significant development underway at the main DERA site which straddles the Rushmoor/ Hart boundary.

3.1.9 In addition, as indicated in the Strategic Defence Review, it was decided that a Defence Diversification Agency should be set up within DERA. The key objectives of the Government White Paper, "Getting the most out of defence technology" which was published at the end of last year, were to encourage the widest possible exploitation of military technology by civil industry and vice versa and to make available knowledge on market trends to the defence industry to assist in diversification planning.

3.1.10 To promote this two-way technology transfer the Defence Diversification Agency has strong links with DERA related Science Parks. In Hampshire there are two - the Farnborough Innovation Centre and the Maritime Technology Park at Haslar, Gosport. The Defence Diversification Agency have had consultants in place in Haslar and Farnborough since the summer. The former is a joint venture between DERA, Rushmoor Borough Council, COMAX, Hampshire Training and Enterprise Council and Business Link Hampshire.
3.1.11 The Army School of Catering, which is based at St Omer Barracks in Aldershot, is part of a study to explore the scope for public/private partnering arrangements. Bidders are being invited to put forward proposals to co-locate the Army School of Catering to Deepcut which would have implications for 62 civilian posts in Aldershot.

3.2 Gosport

3.2.1 The situation with regard to the Royal Hospital Haslar is, as Members are aware, still the subject of a county wide campaign against closure.

3.2.2 The closure of HMS Vernon at Fort Blockhouse Haslar, and the transfer of the submarines training facilities to Plymouth reduces the number of personnel. The whole of the Haslar Peninsula is subject to a Ministry of Defence study on its future which may create further land releases on to the market for development.

3.2.3 There is a review underway of naval training which will affect HMS Sultan and a report is due in late 1999.

3.2.4 The DERA is developing a Science and Technology Park at Haslar, together with a section of the Defence Diversification Agency.

3.2.5 As stated in the Review, all military aircraft from the armed services are to be repaired and maintained by a single agency, the Defence Aviation Repair Agency. The naval repair facility at Fleetlands has become (April 1999) the principle rotary wing helicopter repair facility for the Ministry of Defence. It is expected that the facility will be given Trading Fund Status within two years.

3.2.6 The Strategic Defence Review announced the formation of a new tri-Service explosives organisation, 'Defence Munitions' which took place on 1 April 1999. The Royal Naval Armaments Depot (RNAD) Gosport, forms one element of that organisation and remains a vital, integral element of support to the Royal Navy. The new organisation does not itself bring changes to RNAD Gosport, although the drive to provide best value for taxpayers' money will continue. RNAD Gosport also acts as a regional headquarters.

3.3 Portsmouth

3.3.1 The single greatest innovation of the Review is the intention to build two new larger aircraft carriers that will have Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm fixed wing aircraft operating from them. These carriers will replace the present three smaller aircraft carriers and will be commissioned in 2010. The tonnages of the two new ships will be significant because if they are designed over a certain size (40,000-50,000 tons), there may be draught problems in Portsmouth Harbour. If the ships were not based in Portsmouth it would have a considerable impact on the number of service personnel in the area and the local economy.

3.3.2 The building of a second logistical support ship on the lines of HMS Ocean will enhance the Naval Base's role.

3.3.3 The effect of the Strategic Defence Review on the amount of maintenance work undertaken by Fleet Support Limited, on behalf of the Fleet Maintenance Repair Organistion, in Portsmouth Dockyard is expected to be minimal.
3.3.4 The Defence Vetting Agency's site in Portsmouth is being relocated to York which has implications for the 33 staff who work in Portsmouth.

3.4 Hart

3.4.1 The move of the Gurkhas from Queen Elizabeth II barracks at Church Crookham to Kent next year will end a long and happy relationship. The barracks will be disposed of for development.

3.4.2 The Royal Engineering School at Gibraltar Barracks, Minley are part of a review on the future of the Royal Engineers main depots currently at Chatham and Minley. The review is the first part of a proposed Public Private Partnership and six private sector possible partners are preparing options and bids.
3.4.3 Of the three armed services in the region, the Royal Air Force has the smallest contingent in the area. The main base in the region is RAF Odiham which is the United Kingdom's main RAF Helicopter Base where 48 of the Chinook heavy lifting helicopters will continue to be based.

3.4.4 RAF Odiham now have the details of the structure of the station as a result of the Strategic Defence Review. Compared with the Army and the Navy the Royal Air Force are fully reorganised under the Review.
3.4.5 The TA unit at Martin Lines has been disbanded and the site is to be used as a major location for a Steven Spielberg World War II film before being released for development. Planning applications have been submitted for both industrial development and a private sports centre.

3.5 Test Valley

3.5.1 The Army Air Corps Middle Wallop base was, and still is, the main training establishment for Army pilots, but basic pilot training has become tri-service with the specialist role i.e. Army, RAF and Navy pilots being trained by the particular single service at Middle Wallop. The base is being expanded and converted to accommodate the training needs for different types of helicopter.

3.5.2 Following the Strategic Defence Review, the main elements of the Army Equipment Support Organisation will be located at Andover with an increase of about 600 posts. The permanent headquarters of the Defence Logistics Organisation will be set up in Bath, replacing the HQ of the Quartermasters General's Department in Andover. No redundancies are anticipated as a result of this decision. Also, as part of the reorganisation of Logistics Support, a new Defence Storage and Distribution Agency will be established in Bicester, Oxfordshire, which will affect 61 civilian staff currently employed in Andover.

3.6 Fareham

3.6.1 The principal defence establishment in the borough is HMS Collingwood, a training school for gunnery, electronics and radar. HMS Collingwood has been in a state of continual change due to new training needs. As in other areas of training in the MOD, private companies are being increasingly involved with training and the Strategic Defence Review has accelerated this trend.

3.7 East Hampshire

3.7.1 The Bordon and Longmoor camps in East Hampshire are going through a series of seamless unit changes, but the numbers of support staff and personnel are expected to remain the same. There may be increased use of the training areas in East Hampshire as a result of the Review.

3.8 New Forest

3.8.1 The New Forest District has Marchwood Military Port on Southampton Water, a facility which will expand to give the extra logistical support as required by the Review. Three commercial companies have been invited to submit detailed proposals for the operation of the military port.

3.9 Winchester

3.9.1 The Headquarters of the Adjutant General's Corps is at Worthy Down. The establishment has increased over the last eight years and the Strategic Defence Review is likely to strengthen the position although there may be some private sector involvement with training in the future. Also in Winchester is the training depot for the Light Division at Sir John Moore Barracks which is up to strength and, in the far south of Winchester's area, is HMS Dryad which has been considerably redeveloped and invested in.

3.10 Southampton
3 10.1 The Strategic Defence Review explored the scope for increasing the commercial utilisation of Marchwood Military Port. An invitation to submit non-binding proposals was issued in May and bidders now have until the end of the year to submit detailed proposals.
4 The Territorial Army

4.1.1 The Territorial Army is the one element of the armed services that is being considerably reduced. The number of personnel will decrease from 936 to 474 49% reduction. Compared with the rest of the country, Hampshire appears to have fared reasonably well, but not in relation to its strategic position, size of population and its history of links with the armed forces.

4.1.2 The outcome of the Review is that the following facilities remain in Hampshire:-

Millbrook Road, Southampton
a) 457 Battery, 106 Defence Regiment
b) 63 Signal Squadron
c) 243 Field Hospital (a detachment)
Perrone Road, Portsmouth
d) 128 Company
e) 103 Battalion
f) Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Perrone Close, Portsmouth
g) Royal Rifle Volunteer (a company)
Tudor Crescent, Portsmouth
h) 243 Field Hospital (a detachment)
Bramley, Basingstoke
i) C Squadron
j) Special Air Service HQ
Worthy Down, Winchester
k) Adjacent General Corp Central Volunteers Headquarters
Buller Barracks, Aldershot
l) Royal Engineer, Territorial Army Headquarters (HQ29 Barracks)
Gibraltar Barracks, Minley
m) Central Volunteer Headquarters Royal Engineers
Prince Phillip Barracks, Bordon
n) Central Volunteer Headquarters, REME HQ 104 Batallion REME
Newport, Isle of Wight
o) Royal Rifle Volunteers (1 Troop)

Of the other centres, only one is so far scheduled for disposal, namely that at Redan Road, Aldershot.

5. Defence Estates Issues

5.1 The Defence Estates Agency operates in Hampshire through offices in Portsmouth and Aldershot.

5.2 The withdrawal from Germany, the creation of a sixth brigade army, and the new training requirements has caused Defence Estates to draw up a strategy for an environmental assessment, which will be in the form of a series of impact studies, covering the built estate, the rural estate and the effect of ships, aircraft and vehicles on the environment.

5.3 The use of training areas managed by Defence Estates is of primary relevance to Hampshire. Salisbury Plain (38,000 hectares)is the main training area at brigade level and Otterburn (23,000 hectares) is the northern training area, Otterburn is at present the subject of a public enquiry which is due to report next year. The report could recommend the restriction of training activities and this in turn could effect the basing of troops in the south and the use of the existing training areas.

5.4 A Strategic Plan for Defence Estates in the United Kingdom will be forwarded to the Minister for overall approval later this year.

6. Conclusion The Strategic Defence Review

6.1 The region in general terms has not suffered badly as a result of the Review. Unit strength and personnel numbers will remain about the same.

6.2 The universal use of training areas and the increased number of vehicles on the roads will impact on the region.

6.3 The review of the Military Estate may bring about land releases.

6.4 The acquisition of the two new larger aircraft carriers as opposed to the three smaller carriers at present, is a hugely significant issue for Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Harbour area.

Last update: 12/10/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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