Plans to make Aldershot a major army base to accommodate some of the thousands of soldiers returning home from Germany are imminent.
Pre-application documents outlining proposals for new officers’ mess buildings and other ‘priority works’ at Mons, Wavell, Lille and St Omer barracks were sent to Rushmoor Borough Council recently.
Aspire Defence Capital Works and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), who have been liaising with Rushmoor Borough Council on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, were told last Thursday that an environmental impact assessment was not required, paving the way for a full application to be made later this year.
The plans are part of the Army Basing Programme announced in March, to allow withdrawal of all units from Germany by 2020.
The units will be disbanded, converted or personnel given new roles as part of this, with 750 soldiers and their families expected in Aldershot.
More than £800 million will be invested in army living accommodation to provide 4,800 new beds for single soldiers and 1,900 homes for service families in the UK, with further funding used to upgrade facilities where needed.
The scheme followed the Army 2020 study which concluded that the army would be made up of an integrated force of 112,000 personnel, comprising 82,000 regular soldiers and 30,000 trained reserve soldiers.
Proposals for Aldershot consist of a new technical store on the military power station site south of the Basingstoke Canal, combined officers’ and single living accommodation annexe and a three-storey, 40-bed junior ranks accommodation block.
In addition, the existing paired officers’ mess at St Omer barracks, in Alison’s Road, and Mons barracks, in Princes Avenue, will be extended, while reconfiguration work will take place on the existing office building to the north of the sports pitches next to Queens Avenue, store and garage buildings, as well as the stable at the Grade II listed Government House, which will also become accommodation.
The DIO has been in discussions with the council since last summer on the scheme.
A DIO spokesman said: “Aldershot will become one of seven major army concentrations in the UK under the Regular Army Basing Programme.
“The programme will see an increase in service personnel based at Aldershot, with some units growing slightly and others moving to the site.
“It is therefore necessary to ensure that the required infrastructure is in place to facilitate these moves.”
The works are described as relatively modest in scale and so, although they may overlap some of the Project Wellesley development, which is bringing 3,850 homes and other developments to MoD land in Aldershot, it is not thought they would have a large impact.