Gosport MP quizzes officials on closure of HMS Sultan

AN MP has quizzed government officials on a decision to shut a Royal Navy training facility.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:02 pm
HMS Sultan in Gosport

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage says officials from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation were unable to give proper reasons why the Ministry of Defence has announced it plans to close HMS Sultan in 2026.

Ms Dinenage, along with a task force she has created to save the engineering training centre, insists that refurbishing Sultan, as opposed to moving training to HMS Collingwood in Fareham and Scotland, would be cheaper and more effective.

She told The News: ‘I think what became very clear is that there has been very little work carried out before the announcement.

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‘They were unable to answer many of our questions and there was no firm idea of the cost of shutting Sultan.

‘I could tell that due diligence is about to start in the new year.

‘Sultan is big, old and has been under-invested in throughout the years.

‘There are overheads but I think the cost would be cheaper for the MoD to stay at Sultan than move and replace it.

‘I don’t understand why they would want to risk losing what Ofsted has called 
an ‘outstanding training facility’.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, says believes that it will cost the MoD millions of pounds extra to close Sultan.

He said: ‘They can’t just walk out and leave because there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

‘It will cost millions to move the forces from there.’

The MoD said that selling HMS Sultan will contribute to the overall aim of consolidating its defence estate into fewer centres specialisation.

A statement from the MoD spokesperson said: ‘The sale of HMS Sultan is part of the Better Defence Estate Strategy and will help ensure a modern estate fit for our personnel and their families.

‘By putting money where it is needed, we will provide better facilities to train our armed forces and deliver more stability to those in the military network.’