A MILITARY masterplan outlining how Salisbury Plain will cope with thousands of extra soldiers rebased there has come under fire from one of Wiltshire longest serving councillors.
Mark Connolly, who has represented the Tidworth area at County Hall since 1993, said: “Army Basing has a number of opportunities for the local area and Wiltshire, but it also comes with risk.
“The building blocks for sustainable communities need to be put in place for the existing civilian/military communities and those coming to the area. I think a lot of work has been done and continues to be worked on in terms of public services but I am not convinced enough has been done to provide retail and employment for the existing communities or the families arriving to the area as part of the masterplan.
“In terms of employment and retail, there is nothing in the masterplan that provides for this.
“Indeed, the 300 Service Family Accommodation in Corona Barracks (Ludgershall) is a disappointment as I had hoped this site would be mixed development of housing and light industrial/employment land to complement Casteldown Business Park.
“This site would then have been the employment centre for the Tidworth Community Area.
“I can see why the housing is placed there as it is near to the Wellington Academy, on the main public transport link, will have a primary school on site and is close to the local Service Centre of Ludgershall. However, I wonder if the old vehicle depot will be released as a second business park to complement Castledown Business Park.”
Mr Connolly also suggests a site north of Tidworth as being suitable for a secondary school, and that planners should drop any thoughts of installing traffic lights at Meerut Road in Tidworth or at the war memorial in the centre of Ludgershall.
He added that the main entrance to the Tidworth camp, currently VCP2, can cause congestion on Bulford Road and he suggests moving it to an alternative site. As well as bringing in a 30mph limit outside Wellington Academy.
A four-week public consultation into the Army basing proposals closed on Tuesday and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation will publish its response to the points made in due course.