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  • Alistair Strathern

MP secures meeting with MoD Minister to get clarity on Chicksands chaos

Alistair Strathern MP, Labour’s candidate for Hitchin, has pressured the Ministry of Defence to finally be clear on the future of Chicksands base.


Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Strathern pushed Defence Minister James Cartlidge to meet to discuss the base’s future, following a period of radio silence from the MoD.


In a debate in Parliament last year, Mr Cartlidge announced the base’s closure from 2030 with a promise to follow up and provide further details to those affected.


Six months later, neither Mr Strathern nor those personnel impacted have heard any more.


Frustrated with the uncertainty and following concerns of residents, Strathern pushed the Minister to provide clarity on the Ministry of Defence’s decision.


Commenting, Alistair Strathern MP said:

“Radio silence from the MOD after such a significant announcement has caused huge concern amongst residents across our area.


“Chicksands is an iconic base with a proud history, but it’s been allowed to fall into disrepair. Rather than work to restore it, the MOD have chosen to retire it.


“I have consistently raised my concerns about the adequacy of the accommodation, our brave servicemen and women are living in dire conditions, with seemingly no plan for improvement.


“I’m glad to have finally secured a meeting with the Minister to get some clarity. Not just the future of the base in the long term, but how they will make it better for our troops in the interim.”


Notes to Editors:

  • Full exchange can be viewed here.

  • Alistair’s initial Westminster Hall Debate took place on 19 December 2023, read full debate here.

  • 64% of service personnel in Bedfordshire live in lowest grade accommodation

  • The 2023 Armed Forces Continuous Attitude survey revealed that 42% of tri-service personnel live in Single Living Accommodation during the working week.

  • Poor quality defence housing is having a direct impact on the crisis in military morale. The same survey shows 46% of tri-service personnel were dissatisfied with the overall standard of their accommodation. A majority of 54% said they were dissatisfied with the responses to maintenance request and repairs.


 

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