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Royal Marines bases Chivenor and Norton Manor will not close

Royal Marines from Chivenor and Norton Manor will not be moving. Photo: PA Images

The Defence Secretary has confirmed that the Royal Marines bases at Chivenor and Norton Manor will not be closing.

It follows months of speculation that the sites were due to be shut in favour of creating a new super-base in Plymouth.

Taunton

40 Commando's future in Taunton is safe, three years after it was earmarked for closure by 2028.

The MP for Taunton Deane is thrilled by the decision to keep 40 Commando in the town. Credit: PA Images

The Ministry of Defence no longer intends to get rid of Norton Manor Camp following recent assessment work carried out by the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme.

I am absolutely thrilled that the Secretary of State has taken heed of the comprehensive case I made to keep the base open, backed up by the local community, the Council and the Marines themselves. I am delighted that the original decision to close the camp has been reversed. In my campaign I focused on the significant investment (upwards of £50 million) made to make the site fit for purpose well into the future and representing good value for the taxpayer.

– Rebecca Pow MP

In a statement to the House of Commons today, Defence Minister Tobias Elwood will announce that the future of 40 Commando at the Norton Manor base in Taunton is secure and the site will be retained for ongoing defence use. The MP for Taunton Deane, Rebecca Pow, believes that seeing the site for himself during a visit earlier this month, helped the Defence Secretary make his decision.

I believe what really had an impact was getting the Secretary of State to Norton Manor himself to see the situation on the ground. I followed this with a letter, further meetings and the presentation of my petition which demonstrated huge public support for keeping 40 Commando in Taunton.

I'd like to express sincere thanks to all those who have supported this endeavour, including the local community, the council and 40 Commando themselves. It means a great deal for the military and non-military personnel based at the camp and indeed for the whole town which has taken 40 Commando to its heart.

– Rebecca Pow MP
The Royal Marines will not move from their bases at Chivenor and Norton Manor. Credit: PA Images

The announcement today confirms that as a result of assessment work my Department no longer intends to close Norton Manor Camp in Taunton. I recognise the strength of feeling in the local community about Norton Manor Camp and the assiduous, determined campaign Rebecca has led to retain it. She has left no stone unturned in highlighting her case. She is a tremendous advocate for 40 Commando in her constituency and it really was her dedication to the cause that encouraged my Department to reconsider. I have made the decision to retain the camp as it has an ongoing defence use, it will offer better value for money and it better supports military capability.

– Secretary of State Gavin Williamson MP

Chivenor

This is fantastic news. We had known for many months that the original decision to close the Base, announced in November 2016, was being reviewed, but we kept waiting for a firm decision and a formal announcement. Today, we’ve got what North Devon wanted.

It’s come after a brilliant cross-community campaign, involving many councils, businesses, organisations and individuals. I would personally like to thank the nearly 5,000 residents who responded to my call to write to the Defence Secretary demanding an end to the uncertainty. He has listened, and I am delighted with the outcome.

– Peter Heaton-Jones MP

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