March 2012

I undertook to give you regular updates on our rebasing plans. Since I last wrote to you on 25th January, we have made steady progress and although we still have much still to do, I can now give you additional information on our rundown plans that will be of interest to you.

The original rebasing timelines remain unchanged; the main body of 39 Engineer Regiment will move from Waterbeach to Kinloss in July 2012 and the main body of Headquarters 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group will move from Waterbeach to Wittering in October 2012. The vacation and hand-back of Waterbeach Barracks to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation will be completed by the end of March 2013.

Once the main bodies have departed, a closure party of approximately 40 personnel (military and MOD civilians) will remain, and this will gradually ramp down through to March 2013. After that, the Barracks will be guarded and managed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation until they dispose of it.

We expect 40-50 of our families to remain in military housing at Waterbeach after the main body moves. About half of these will probably move on within 6 months, with the remainder staying for a year or so. It lies with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to decide what to do with the houses once they are vacated.  They are still working out their plan, but it will probably include the retention of some quarters (number to be determined) to provide for service personnel working in the Cambridge area with the remainder being handed back to Annington Homes for disposal. We do not expect to see the details of the disposal plans, which are unlikely to be finalised for some time yet.

Our plan for closing down the facilities in the Barracks is as follows:

  • We intend the swimming pool to be open, with the usual access for the local community, for a last truncated season from a date (TBC) in April through to the end of June.

  • The Buchanan Centre pre-school group will close at the end of the summer term.

  • The airfield training area will close to military units, including the Cadets, at the end of November.

  • The golf, fishing, clay pigeon and model aircraft clubs will finish within the camp by the end of December.

I’m afraid that extending any of the above beyond the dates stated is not something we are able to do; we are heavily committed from the middle of the year, including supporting the Olympics, and we simply do not have the management or manpower required. We will also be unable to provide formed contingents for the various Remembrance Services we normally support, although we hope to be able to send a representative to each for 2012.

We intend to mark the closure of the Barracks on the weekend of the Waterbeach Feast. There will be a Beating Retreat ceremony in the Barracks on the evening of Friday 15th June, which will be open to the public, and we will be supporting the Feast as normal on the Saturday.

I hope this gives you a better idea of what we are planning and how it might affect you. If there is anything else you’d like to know, please let us know.

Colonel Andy Philips
Waterbeach Station

Our Mission:

  • To promote sustainable, responsible development of the Barracks for the benefit of the community.
  • To oppose unsustainable, speculative development on the Barracks that doesn’t benefit the community.

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