To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what will be the cost of building a barracks block on Higher Beardon farm, West Dartmoor;
(2) what will be the size of the barracks that his Department intends to build on Higher Beardon farm, West Dartmoor;
(3) why his Department has postponed its formal application to the Dartmoor national park committee to build a new barracks block on Higher Beardon farm; and if he will make a statement;
(4) what account his Department took of the proximity of Okehampton camp in deciding upon the necessity for a new barracks block at Higher Beardon farm; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Torridge and Devon, West (Miss Nicholson) on 23 November 1987, Official Report, column 35–36. The Ministry of Defence proposals to replace Willsworthy camp at Higher Beardon farm, Lydford, were submitted to the Dartmoor national park authority on 19 October, in accordance with normal procedures, which we continue to follow. Okehampton training camp could not be used for this purpose, mainly because it is too far away to provide ready access to shelter from the harsh and rapidly changing weather conditions on the moor. The proposed camp is not a barracks, but would merely provide overnight shelter for up to 100 troops using the ranges. It would be a single storey building which, with a small parking area, would cover about half an acre, about a third of the size of the present camp. The cost of construction would depend on the results of a competitive tender.