ARMY troops will move into RAF Cottesmore next summer, a year earlier than expected.
The Ministry of Defence has announced that the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment will be relocating from Cyprus to the base, which will be vacated by the RAF in March.
The Royal Anglian Regiment will be followed by 7 Regiment Royal Logistic Corp, which will move from Bielefield to Cottesmore in summer 2013.
RAF Wittering will become home to headquarters elements of 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group, which will move from Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire in summer 2013 to share the base with the RAF.
Minister for the Armed Forces Nick Harvey said: “The Defence Transformation announcement in July 2011 identified a number of key objectives including the long-term plan to bring the Army back from Germany, a basing laydown for the RAF and the Royal Navy, the sale of sites no longer required and the plan to place Army units in Kinloss by 2014/15. These announcements demonstrate the Government and Army is taking forward this programme for change.
“This programme will ensure that fit-for-purpose infrastructure is in place to support both military operations and Service personnel and their families.
“These preliminary moves will also ensure any gap in occupation of the sites at Kinloss and Cottesmore is kept to a minimum. The strategic objective remains to deliver a coherent and affordable Defence capacity in 2020 and beyond.”
Councillor Roger Begy, Leader of Rutland County Council, commented: “It’s extremely good news for Rutland that the army will be here sooner rather than later. It means our local shops and services will not feel the impact on trade for as long as they first thought. The arrival of the army is the start of a new chapter for Cottesmore and I’m sure the local community are looking forward to welcoming their new residents.”
For the full story and reaction see tomorrow’s Mercury.