Gosport Borough Council leader says Ministry of Defence needs to put back into the local area if they're to close HMS Sultan

THE LEADER of a council says the Ministry of Defence needs to put something back into the area if plans go ahead to close a Royal Navy training base.

Friday, 30th December 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 3:49 am
HMS Sultan in Gosport faces closure

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, believes the Royal Navy has benefited from using Gosport for hundreds of years.

As reported by The News, plans are in place to close HMS Sultan in Gosport by 2026, with engineering training moving to HMS Collingwood, in Fareham, and Scotland.

The proposals are part of the MoD’s cost-cutting measures.

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Due to the number of jobs the MoD has provided for people from Gosport throughout the years, Cllr Hook feels the borough has suffered from a lack of middle-sized businesses developing.

He added that the closure of Daedalus Airfield and Haslar Hospital had also contributed and not enough support was put in place when they were both shut.

Cllr Hook said: ‘Although the navy keep their ships in Portsmouth, Gosport has always provided them with the labour and resources.

‘There comes a time when the Ministry of Defence should reinvest into Gosport if they are looking to close Sultan.

‘We have always had third and fourth generations working for them, whether it is on the docks, at Haslar Hospital or elsewhere.

‘This means we haven’t had as many small and medium-sized enterprises in the area taking on because work has always been provided.

‘The MoD has gone from owning 33 per cent of land in the area to less than 20 per cent.

‘They can no longer go walk away without putting something back in.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage also believes the Royal Navy has reaped the rewards from the area.

A spokesperson for the MoD said: ‘The sale of HMS Sultan in 2026 is part of the Better Defence Estate Strategy and will help ensure a modern estate fit for our personnel and their families. The release of this site provides the local council with opportunities for commercial use, business growth and job creation.’

The government says selling sites will help build 55,000 new homes across the country, cut defence running costs by £140m over the next decade and pay for £4bn worth of improvements.