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Veterans’ dismay as Copthorne Barracks sold to housing developer

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

The former home of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in Shrewsbury has been sold to a housing developer – much to the dismay of a veterans’ campaign group.

Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury

Copthorne Barracks had been on the market for a number of months.

It was put up for sale by the Ministry of Defence which gained outline planning permission to demolish up to 40 buildings and transform the site into housing in an effort to increase the value of the land.

It has now been confirmed that Bellway Homes bought the site, which stands on Copthorne Road, for an undisclosed figure in May.

A MoD spokesman said: “The site was sold in May 2018 to Bellway Homes. The disposal date was delayed to allow the MoD to gain planning consent in order to increase the value of the site.

“The timing of any work on the site is up to the new owner.”

Plans were submitted by the MoD to demolish a number of the compound’s buildings, including the officers’ mess, to make way for a housing development of 228 homes and 45 retirement apartments. Outline permission was given by Shropshire Council last year.

The scheme was met with opposition from a number of quarters including former soldiers who were dismayed at the thought that the military links with the town would be eradicated.

They made requests for part of the site to be made available to veterans and their families.

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Shrewsbury Town Council also objected to the application saying that the loss of historical buildings would be to the detriment of the town’s military history.

Norman McGuiggan, of the Light Infantry Veterans campaign, said he was disappointed to hear news of the sale.

“We have been left out of the loop,” he said.

“We will keep fighting tooth and nail. We are concerned that the heritage of the barracks will be lost and we have not been able to speak to the developer about their plans for the site.

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"We hope that certain parts will be retained and not end up being demolished or in a skip.”

The barracks were built between 1877 and 1881 and initially included a hospital, married quarters, stabling and stores.

A spokesman for Bellway Homes was unavailable for comment.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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