Alun Cairns accuses Welsh Government of having ‘blocked’ a major new military unit in his constituency
Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns has accused the Welsh Government of having “blocked” a major military unit in his constituency.
The former Welsh Secretary said that Welsh Government’s new Bro Tathan Business Park had taken the UK Government’s designated site for a new defence training academy.
The military continues to have a presence near the airfield, at MOD St Athan, and Alun Cairns called for assurances that they would not also be ejected by the Welsh Government.
“The Welsh Government’s refusal to extend the lease of the land at MOD St Athan effectively blocked a new major military unit coming to St Athan,” Alun Cairns said in the House of Commons.
“What reassurance can the Minister give to the soldiers based at west camp? Do the Welsh Government have any right to the land on which they are based? If so, are they at risk of being evicted in the same way as those soldiers who were based at east camp?”
Bro Tathan Business Park launched in September 2019, on the airfield which was transferred from military to civilian control on 1 April 2019, in a move the Welsh Government described as “clearing the way for new and exciting business opportunities”.
Aston Martin became the first anchor tenant that year.
Jeremy Quin, the Minister for Defence Procurement, told Alun Cairns that the Welsh Government had no power over the land currently held by MOD St Athan.
“I know exactly what my right honourable friend is going to ask, because he has been assiduous in demanding more troops at St Athan,” he said.
“The good news is that the Ministry of Defence holds the freehold for the west camp land, which was not covered by the historic agreement made with the Welsh Government.
“My right honourable friend has tackled me on this issue on so many occasions, and I went to visit the camp. We could not put new units into St Athan given the historic agreement with the Welsh Government, but west camp is MOD freehold and we will retain our forces there.”
In November Bro Tathan was shortlisted for the APM Project Management Awards Transformation Project of the Year 2021, alongside the MOD and PA Consulting, NATS and BAE Systems. The award was won by the London City Digital Tower.
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