Army rebasing: work starts to prepare Ludgershall site for new Army homes
The government's mammoth army rebasing programme which will bring about 7,600 new residents - soldiers and their families - to Wiltshire over the next four years, has got underway in Ludgershall with the demolition of Corunna Barracks to make way for 246 new service family homes.
As the latest Ministry of Defence briefing to local communities puts it: "These plans will require additional levels of infrastructure and services to be provided by Wiltshire Council." They are certain to have an impact on southern parts of the Marlborough area - especially as regards school places and infrastructure spending.
A £50million government grant was announced to help Wiltshire Council with the necessary infrastructure spending. This has now been withdrawn and instead a 'Section 106' agreement will be drawn up covering the three major service family housing projects.
'Section 106' payments are routinely made by developers for infrastructure work, but are being replaced by Community Infrastructure Levies (known as CILs - pronounced as 'sills'.) Part of CIL money goes to the town or parish council - it is not clear why the old 106 system has been preferred over the CIL system.
Apart from the 246 new build homes at Ludgershall, there will be 227 at Bulford and 444 at Larkhill. The MOD is buying 100 homes from a commercial development at Tidworth.
At Ludgershall, specialist demolition contractors working for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, are pulling down 62 buildings - including some vast warehouses - removing car parks and lifting and moving temporary accommodation units to be reused at other MOD sites.
The demolition works are scheduled to be complete early next year. A planning application for the new homes for this site has been submitted to Wiltshire Council.
The homes are part of wider infrastructure proposals ahead of the arrival the 4,300 extra troops and their families in the Salisbury Plain area under the rebasing programme. A site for a primary school, land for community uses and open space are included in the plans for Ludgershall.
As it is so close to the Salisbury Plain Training Area, Corunna Barracks has had an important history. During World War Two, the site was used by the US Army to test and prepare vehicles for the D-Day landings.
It was later home to 26 Engineer Regiment and more recently the barracks has been used as temporary accommodation for visiting military units, for storing Army medical supplies and as a storage facility able to hold hundreds of military vehicles, ranging from Land Rovers to large heavy armoured vehicles.