Blandford to close?

#1
From todays Dorset Echo

http://www.thisisdorset.net/dorset/north_dorset/news/NORTH_DORSET_NEWS_NEWS2.html

BLANDFORD army camp could be closed down as part of a shake-up of armed forces training, with a "devastating" effect on the local economy, it has been warned.

Every year, thousands of soldiers go through specialist communications training at the army base, home to the Royal Corps of Signals, boosting local businesses by millions of pounds.

But it has emerged that the training could be transferred out of Blandford, if defence chiefs take up this option.

Blandford town councillor Hadyn White said the town and surrounding area would lose an estimated income of some £250m if the camp had to close.

"It would be a devastating blow for this part of the world," he said.

Now, Blandford mayor Cllr Gerry Chapman is urging local people to lobby their MPs to try to safeguard the camp and secure the financial future of the area.

As part of a nationwide review of training, the Ministry of Defence is currently looking for private organisations to take charge of training in the army, navy and airforce for the next 25 years.

At least two companies are preparing bids detailing how and where they will deliver the training across all three armed services.

It had been thought that Blandford camp could expand with the shake-up, taking over responsibility for communications training for airforce and naval personnel, as well as army recruits.

But now it has emerged that one option may be to shift training to a completely new location, if this makes more economic sense.

"It is up to the company making the bid to decide if Blandford is the right area and environment for them to operate a financially viable business," said Cllr Chapman.

"Local people need to be aware that the camp could close."

Chief executive of North Dorset District Council, Liz Goodall, said local authorities and councils in Dorset had to persuade bidders for the contract that Blandford was the best place for communications training.

"We need to work together to secure the best future for Dorset," she said.

A decision by the MoD on the future of the camp is not expected until next year.

But North Dorset MP Robert Walter said: "A lot of new investment has gone on at Blandford Camp in the last three years and I don't think there's any possibility it will close," he said.

"If the contractor in the partnership wants to start relocating jobs elsewhere, that would be a concern, but my understanding is that Blandford is where the jobs will be located."

Cuts to `rationalise training'

The MoD is trying to rationalise training across the three branches of the armed services to make it more responsive to operational needs, say defence chiefs.

They say cutting the number of training sites could free up more resources to improve accommodation and training at existing facilities.

While Blandford camp has been identified as a benchmark site for communications training, its future is still in doubt until the MoD makes its decision next year.

Any bids to offer alternative IT and communications training would have to match the standard already achieved at the Blandford site.

But a statement from the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems based at the camp warned: "No decision has been taken to locate the training at Blandford camp, and any viable alternative location will be considered.

"Our minds are open and we are genuinely looking for industry's innovative solutions to meet our training.

"A final decision on the location of training currently delivered at Blandford will be made next year."

The statement added: "A large number of both civilian and service personnel are likely to be affected.

"We will continue to keep them informed of progress and support the necessary consultation process."
 
#3
Some people have suggested that Catterick would be a good place to place our signals depot. What a strange thought.

Gossip has insisted for years that Blandford was originally chosen as RSS/11 Sigs, because our Ruperts collectively own half of Dorset. Unfortunately this was to the detriment of the Toms, who mainly came from "oop north".

But, hey, who notices the class system these days? We're all friends now aren't we?:wink:
 
#4
GO ON! If they do that I might be persuaded to go FofS, provided they don`t move it to an even more poky sh1tehole!
 
#5
Compared to the other 2 services, Blandford as a site is pretty strong, Fairly new buildings excellent CIS services. Training area and lots of room for expansion, however its drawbacks are,

Poor location for travel (no local rail or motorway network)

Very poor Instructor recruitment. Many slots remain vacant for extended periods. Local living is expensive (council tax etc)

House prices are incredibly high. If Blandford is chosen the move package for the civil servants who come here will be huge, that is if they can also stump up enough to move here ( I doubt that, not on their wages)

The duty rumour by the civvies is that Wales has put forward a bid to site the new TRI school of CIS. If a buisness partner can put forward a new rebuild bid that suits the purse holders then I see the CIS training moving.

On a side note I heard that the move from Catterick to Blandford cost £6 million, RSS is much bigger and more high tech than 8 sigs was so a new move would probably be a lot more than £6 mil, so again a move may be out of financial reach unless a buisness partner is willing to take those costs onboard.

Anyway there are many variables to consider, It will all come out of the wash next year boyo :roll:
 
#6
Disco said:
Compared to the other 2 services, Blandford as a site is pretty strong, Fairly new buildings excellent CIS services.

The duty rumour by the civvies is that Wales has put forward a bid to site the new TRI school of CIS. If a buisness partner can put forward a new rebuild bid that suits the purse holders then I see the CIS training moving.
Fairly new buildings? Yes if you're a sprog. If you're a WO/SNCO it's bloody abysmal. If it goes ahead then it would be great to see a MAJOR refurb of the Sgts Mess accommodation. Well, nothing too radical, but it's a disgrace when WOs on courses are staying in shite 4-man rooms. There's no other Corps in the Army which treats its seniors so contemptuously.

Wales would be great. I could resettle my wife near her family at reasonable cost. And Welsh birds are easy... :wink:
 
#7
Apparently a new Mess would be part of the new contract with the new buisness provider (yer righto). Im sure they finally sorted out the funding to extend (rebuild) the mess etc but it is now on hold while they wait for the DTR to be announced.

Also the MQ`s upgrade has been put on hold again, no doubt this too is down to waiting for the DTR.

As for Wales, well I dont see us getting a prime location. No doubt it will be the back of beyond in some kind of ex mining town renovation program.

Cynical ?
 
#9
Funny how the locals think " "devastating" effect on the local economy" when theres a chance of us leaving, but there the first people to bleet when a couple of lads walk past there houses past 10 and make a bit of noise.
 
#10
The civil servants have started a "petition" to save Blandford camp....

The Soldiers however have countered this with a petition to close Blandford camp.

:lol:
 
#11
someonesomewhere said:
Funny how the locals think " "devastating" effect on the local economy" when theres a chance of us leaving, but there the first people to bleet when a couple of lads walk past there houses past 10 and make a bit of noise.
same the world over mate
they only want us for our money :evil:
lot that there is anything worth spending it on in Blandford
spending to get out is a different matter :p
 
#12
Driffield could be a potentially good site as it has good road/rail links, DST 11 miles away, a big enough real eastate to exercise on and Catterick just up the road. Don't know the state of the blocks & MQs though as its been mothballed for some time.
Also in an area where recruiting instructors wouldn't be too difficult.
 
#13
fuku said:
Driffield
Still in the back end of nowhere. Cosford definitley has its advantages. The TA (2 SigBde) find that area of the country the most useful to do its central trade training - Swynerton.

The TA would get more out of the the school if it was closer to population centres, use its comms facilities etc at weekends.
 
#15
hup-two-three said:
Couldn't possibly close Blandford. What would they do with the museum?
Why on earth did they put it in the middle of an Army camp? Surely it'd be better to make it more accessable to the general public (recruiting, PR etc).

Ok its not the most entertaining subject (to the public) but its put together quite well.

Move it back to Yorkshire!
 
#16
polar said:
hup-two-three said:
Couldn't possibly close Blandford. What would they do with the museum?
Why on earth did they put it in the middle of an Army camp? Surely it'd be better to make it more accessable to the general public (recruiting, PR etc).

Ok its not the most entertaining subject (to the public) but its put together quite well.
should have been on the edge of camp like the Air Corps and others.
its just plain stupid to let Joe public have free unrestricted access to the Garrison on the pretence of going to the museum.
the place could do with a revamp anyway.

still reckon that training should be at Cosford
 
#17
Duty rumour at Blandford is that the Welsh option is to St Athan - so whoever mentioned another pokey sh1te hole hit the nail on the head. Wouldnt do Blandford any harm to have a reality check, the town has been living off the back of the School for so long. 5 quid to get into town and 3 quid for a pint of beater in the chuffs, its a bloody disgrace. But the girls are way easier here than wales :wink:
 
#18
as everything is becoming tri service it is unlikely blandford will close down if anything money will be spent on the place to bring it upto spec with the other services all that will happen is cosford and blandford will split the training
 
#19
oneofgodschildren said:
as everything is becoming tri service it is unlikely blandford will close down if anything money will be spent on the place to bring it upto spec with the other services all that will happen is cosford and blandford will split the training
The idea behind DCCIS is to combine all CIS training. Granted there will still be some specialist comms skills that "could" remain with its parent service but DTR expects to cut out all duplication of training within the 3 services, afterall a technician is a technician and operator is an operator and CIS is CIS no matter what badge is on it.

The decision on the where this will happen will largely depend on who in the civilian sector is prepared to invest into this program to train forces proffesionals and take on some rule book, jobs worth, work shy Civil servants.

Civil service beaurocracy will endeaver to scupper DTR plans Im sure :twisted:
 
#20
Reality check is the way forward for Blandford, they have to face up to the fact that they have lived off the back of having a captive population for far too long, and kicked the arrse out of it!
Blandford has crap road and rail communications...and have you ever tried to get a mobile phone signal??
Not to mention the drugs problem inherrrant within the civpop in the area.
Move it somewhere near a motorway, or a decent airport, or both...where your mobile works........I heard that wales in an option, and there were big plus points being offered to the army by the welsh assembly!
Close the sh1thole I say!
 
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