MP Daniel Kawczynski invited to top level talks on Shrewsbury’s Copthorne Barracks

Top level Government talks over the future of Shrewsbury’s Copthorne Barracks will take place this month.

Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury
Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski said he would meet Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss the loss of the town’s regular Army presence.

It comes after it was announced part of the base on Copthorne Road is to be sold off, with about 80 military and civilian jobs transferred to Telford.

The move was today welcomed by Kuldip Sahota, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council. Under the plans the headquarters of 143 (West Midlands) Brigade will move to Donnington, home of 11 Signal Brigade in 2015.

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski said Peter Nutting, Shropshire Councillor for Copthorne, would also be present at the meeting, which is being arranged.

Mr Kawczynski said he would also quiz the Defence Secretary on the future of the Territorial Army unit and other small units at the barracks.

Army chiefs have admitted they could also move out – potentially resulting in the full closure of the Copthorne base.

Meanwhile, Telford & Wrekin Council has pledged to work closely with the military in the borough. Council leader Kuldip Sahota said: “We are glad the Army has chosen to remain in the area. We understand that some of the staff from Shrewsbury, around 80 civilian and military personnel, will transfer to Donnington in 2015 and this will become the new West Midlands HQ.”

Last year more than 130 military and civilian jobs were lost when the MoD closed its divisional Army HQ at Copthorne.

The 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, responsible for the Army’s regional regiments, has been based at Copthorne in its current form since 1987. However, the regular Army’s presence in the town dates back to 1877.

Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler CBE, Commander 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, admitted the move away from Shrewsbury was sad but said it ‘made sense’ to relocate to Donnington.

“The army is going to reduce in size so it doesn’t make sense to keep as many headquarters,” he said. “The move will happen in 2015 with the majority of staff transferred to Donnington.

“We will work with the local authority to decide the future of the building.

“There are other small detachment here and we need to work out where they are going to go, a decision on the TA hasn’t been made yet but there is potential for a full closure.”