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Defence Estate Optimisation Programme

Volume 711: debated on Monday 28 March 2022

The MOD continues to deliver on its 25-year strategy to modernise its estate. In the last year, the Defence estate optimisation portfolio has completed construction at three Defence sites, with another six in construction, and completed the sale of seven surplus MOD sites, generating £141 million in receipts to re-invest in modem and sustainable facilities for our armed forces.

The Minister knows that the Sir John Moore barracks in my constituency is marked for disposal under the programme. He also knows that what will be put in its place is causing anxiety. As we reduce the size of the Army in pursuit of the Future Soldier proposals in the integrated review, it is obvious that some consolidation will be needed around the training estate, but does the Minister share my concern about losing what is a good facility in good order at the Army Training Regiment in Winchester, given that the conflict at present—and, I suspect, for some time to come—looks very 20th century, not necessarily in terms of offensive ground operations, but in terms of all the other things, including boots on the ground, that we require of our armed forces?

I know from the meetings we have had that my hon. Friend is very engaged with this MOD site, which is due to close in 2026. The rationale for the closure is to concentrate all phase 1 non-infantry training at Pirbright to provide a bespoke training environment embracing digitalisation. The numbers trained could be flexed, but I will continue to engage with him on what he has impressed on me is an important issue for his constituents.