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Horseshoe Barracks, Shoeburyness

Volume 115: debated on Tuesday 5 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is yet in a position to announce when he expects to have completed his assessment of the future defence role of Horseshoe barracks, Shoeburyness; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces
(Mr. Roger Freeman)

My Department has a continuing long-term requirement for the land used by the Proof and Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness, lying within the Horseshoe barracks complex to the south of the Chapel road.

For the area of Horseshoe barracks itself which lies to the north of Chapel road we are considering various options. These include its rehabilitation for a military unit, its use as a training camp or its possible sale.

In view of the notable contribution made by Horseshoe barracks and related facilities to the defence requirements of the nation for many years, is my hon. Friend willing to visit Shoeburyness to meet the military personnel and local councillors before a final decision is made on this important issue?

Yes. I am happy to give that assurance to my hon. Friend. If that visit happens after a general election it will be a double pleasure, as I am sure that my hon. Friend will be returned with an increased majority.

How many officers from Shoeburyness, which is in the constituency of the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor), interviewed Mr. Colin Wallace? Is it not true that there is a memorandum in the Ministry of Defence which says that he may have been framed on a manslaughter charge? Will the Minister deny that that memo exists in his Ministry?

I regret that I am unable to give the hon. Gentleman an answer to his question, because it does not relate directly to the future of Horseshoe barracks, but I shall write to him.