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U-turn questions over town army base future

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 05, 2014

  • Andrew Griffiths

  • Burton TA centre, Coltman House..

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BURTON’S Territorial Army base which looked set to close in 2016 may have a future after it was revealed the Government could rethink the decision.

The prospect of a U-turn emerged after defence minister Anna Soubry said in a letter to Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths that a final decision had not been made regarding the future of Coltman House.

Bosses at the Hawkins Lane site had previously been told S Company of the 4th Mercian Regiment, which consists of about 50 soldiers, would be withdrawn from the centre and re-integrated.

The MP believes it is crucial the site remains in Burton, particularly as the Government plan to place a heavier reliance on Army reserves.

Under plans, 20,000 regular soldiers are set to be cut by 2018, with around 15,000 extra reservists to fill the void.

Ms Soubry has now said that sites which had been set for the axe will be reassessed.

In her letter Ms Soubry said: “I understand your concern about the future of reserves in your constituency following the proposed withdrawal by December 2016. The long-term future of the site in Burton is yet to be determined.

“However, we are looking carefully at the basing announcements that were made with regard to the reserve.

“Be assured that the Army is aware of the recruiting levels and if we see units are recruiting well, we may be prepared to take that into account before final decisions are made.”

Mr Griffiths described Ms Soubry’s remarks as a ‘potential lifeline’ for the centre, saying: “This is a chink of light – a potential lifeline for the future of the centre.

“The TA centre is not only the home of reservists but also for cadet forces which are key to recruitment.”

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