Last week there was a meeting with Physical Development Support at the City of Edinburgh Council and representatives of Defence Infrastructure Organisation (the property arm of MoD) , Scotland Office, Scottish Government and the other Scottish local authorities impacted by the basing review. They have been kind enough to share this with representatives within the local communities
The DIO project team provided an update on what they are currently doing. As reported in October they are now starting on a series of capacity reviews of each site in their estate to understand issues such as current accommodation, site constraints, capacity for additional on-site growth, access, planning constraints, schools capacity etc. In parallel with this is the Army 2020 review which will determine the size and structure of the army presence in various locations. The key aim remains to consolidate into fewer locations and dispose of surplus estate especially those sites where they may expect to realise a significant capital receipt from its sale.
D IO have a project manger in place to manage the Scottish aspect of these capacity studies, David Graham.
Amid growing speculation the question was raised as to whether or not the announcement made for Edinburgh/West Lothian would actually be implemented in full – i.e. will they close Redford / Dreghorn / Craighiehall and build new base at Kirknewton. The answer was that the position remains as per the July announcement and the current capacity studies will look at the detail of how to implement that decision. DIO advised that we should not listen to views or opinions coming from any party as these will be personal opinions and speculation as no one has the full information yet on which to base any final decisions.
The two parallel pieces of work (capacity study and Army 2020) will begin to come together by spring 2012. At this point they will have an evidence base on which to make future estate decisions.
A media release was also sent out by the MOD last week and the comment about Edinburgh divisions was;
‘HQ 2nd Division at Edinburgh and HQ 5th Division at Shrewsbury will both disband by April 2012, although some tasks will continue until at least August 2012 when HQ Support Command should be fully operational.
Despite the closure of HQ 2nd Division at Edinburgh, the Army will retain a General Officer Commanding (GOC) Scotland with the minimum of staff, which maintains the level of senior representation in Scotland to oversee the rebasing changes. In addition, the Army intends to relocate HQ 1st Division, currently based in Germany, to Scotland by 2020 which would take over the GOC Scotland role.’