British Army closes another building at Royal Artillery base blighted by safety woes on Thorney Island

DANGEROUS electrical wiring has sparked a fresh investigation into an army base blighted by shoddy buildings, The News can disclose.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 2:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 4:28 pm
Buildings at Baker Barracks, on Thorney Island, have been blighted by problems. Now the army has confirmed that the Warrant Officers and Sergeants' Mess has been partially closed due to faulty electrics.

Military chiefs have been forced to seal off part of the Warrant Officers and Sergeants’ mess at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island amid on-going ‘safety’ concerns.

The base is home to hundreds of soldiers from the 12th and 16th Regiment, Royal Artillery.

However, The News understands that dodgy lighting cabling, labelled a ‘fire risk’, prompted the partial closure of the facility.

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It’s the latest woe on the base which has been riddled with problems, which have included soldiers being left without hot water for weeks over winter and troops evacuated from a mould-infested accommodation block.

The army has insisted it is working to fix the latest issue. However, frustrated soldiers and military campaigners have vented their fury over the base’s crumbling estate.

Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt said the government must step up. The Portsmouth North MP said: ‘The lesson here is simple: if you fail to invest in the estate you need you end up in dire straits.

‘The new accommodation at Thorney Island is great but so much of the estate is in a poor condition. Our service people deserve better.’

While one insider at Baker Barracks told The News: ‘The army really knows how to treat our lads – damp accommodation, mess buildings that are a fire risk, and no hot water over the winter. It’s outrageous.’

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Last month an influential group of MPs sitting on the government’s defence committee demanded action from Whitehall to improve the woeful state of Britain’s military accommodation.

The powerful group of politicians said the pitiful state of armed forces housing was impacting morale.

Military campaigner Stephen James, co-founder of Southsea-based armed forces group All Call Signs, was shocked at the latest revelation at Thorney Island.

The veteran soldier said: ‘The standards expected of our armed forces have not changed and their work rate increases day by day.

‘They continue to represent the very best of Britain, while investment in their food, accommodation and general standard of living plunges.

‘Living in miserable barracks with less amenities than your average halfway house, will have a long term negative effect on morale and mental health, as well as seeing the number of much-needed soldiers, sailors and airmen leave the forces prematurely.’

The army confirmed the mess had been ‘partially closed for safety reasons’ after an electrical test.

A spokeswoman added: ‘We are working to rewire affected areas and install safety devices so the building can be fully reopened as quickly as possible.

‘Alternative dining facilities have been provided while this work takes place and the rest of the building remains open.’

The work is due to be completed in November.