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Military Port future safe, says army chief
7:37am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
‘WE’RE staying put.’ That’s the message from the commanding officer of a Hampshire regiment following fresh fears that a massive military base might be on the move.
Last year the Ministry of Defence announced that Marchwood Military Port would not be relocated to another part of the UK.
But the 300-acre site, also known as the Sea Mounting Centre, was the subject of fresh doubts this week after a Government minister failed to confirm that it was staying in Marchwood.
Now the commanding officer of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, based at the port, has given the village the assurance it wanted to hear.
Lt Col Rob Askew said: “The preferred option for the Ministry of Defence is to sell off Marchwood and then lease it back, but that decision will not be taken until the end of the year.
“What is known is that the delivery of port capability in Marchwood will continue.
“In short, 17 Port and Maritime Regiment will continue to be based in Marchwood.
“The Sea Mounting Centre is being retained.
“It’s great news for us and it’s great news for the area.”
His announcement will be welcomed by the 150 civilians who are employed at Marchwood, as well as the 600 soldiers based there.
The port, which handles 100,000 tonnes of cargo a year, has been part of the community since the Second World War and makes a major contribution to the local economy.