Concern over the future of Light Dragoons’ base

10:13 12 February 2013

Scenes from the Light Dragoons Home Coming Parade through Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Scenes from the Light Dragoons Home Coming Parade through Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2012

Ministers have told an MP there are “no specific plans or threats” regarding the future of an army regiment’s base in a mid-Norfolk village.

The Ministry of Defence is currently reviewing the future of its military bases, including the Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, which is home to the Light Dragoons.

Parish council chairman Roger Atterwill said he was concerned by reports circulating locally that the regiment, known as England’s Northern Cavalry, could be moved to Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

He said the barracks were a vital part of the local community, with nearly half of pupils at Swanton Morley Primary School having a parent in the regiment, and the village needed early notification of any proposals which could affect it.

He said: “It’s very important to the local economy. We need the barracks and it has a dramatic effect on the school, doctors’ facilities and pubs in the village and the wider community in Dereham.

“I would not like to see the base mothballed or not used.

“If the military doesn’t use it any more there’s still a large asset there that could be used.”

About 6,000 people watched the Dragoons receive the Freedom of Dereham at a welcome home parade in December following their third tour of Afghanistan.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said: “The Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley have become part of the mid-Norfolk community, and as Dereham demonstrated at the recent homecoming parade, we have taken this regiment very much to our hearts. I would be very concerned and disappointed if there was any suggestion of us losing this much-valued link. I understand the Ministry of Defence has to keep all decisions on regimental bases under review in light of the ongoing review of our armed forces’ capacity and deployment. I have spoken to ministers and am reassured that there are no specific plans or threats to the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley, but I will continue to monitor the situation and be ready to make representations if and when required.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is in the final stages of producing a basing plan which aims to provide an affordable and sustainable infrastructure footprint of the right size and location to support military operations and house service personnel and their families.

“This will include the future use of Swanton Morley. We expect to make an announcement on this basing plan later this year.”


  • Come off it Alecto, we all know Atterwill is just playing politics, its not as if he can do anything about it

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    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • My first thought on Mr Freeman's statement was exactly the same. "No specific" always means "We've got something up our sleeve and you're not going to like it" If the figure that has been given for soldiers to be made redundant is true then I do not see how this camp can continue to survive. But then again they do have Roger Atterwill fighting their corner. Thank goodness for that. The County Councillor one Bill Borratt is too busy trying to become Leader of the Council and explaining away his part in Kevingate to worry about such mundanities happening in his own backyard.

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • " No specific plans or threats ", in the duplicitous world of politicians ,such a statement means that very soon this base will be closed.

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    norman hall

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

  • Another bargain for Norfolk County Council, over to you Mr. Jordan

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • Very constructive Fred - what would you suggest Roger Atterwill do, just roll over and have his tummy tickled in acceptance? I wouldn't want to live in your world of lethargy

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    Sunday, February 17, 2013

  • Just what I thought-bet they are looking at the old airfield with a view to developing. Not very good roads to Dereham or the A47 ( to say the least) though and would ruin what was one of the nicest villages in Mid Norfolk . If the army leaves the best thing would be to return the land to the family which had to hand it over to the airforce in WW2 and return it to agriculture.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • Roger Atterwill is only making a fuss because he wants to be on the county council, he got beat last time!

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    Thursday, February 14, 2013

  • No specific plans or threats - really? Ye're all dooomed...

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

  • The Chairman of Swanton Morley doesnt need to prove himself. Meanwhile the incumbent at County Council is wriggling around like an eel in a bucket trying to explain away his part in Kevingate which he thought had gone away, his generous gifts of money to his district in providing a brand spanking new path at a cost of £44,000 while the rest of Norfolk has to don gauntlets and set off down their existing paths with secateurs and pruning saws to do the work that the County Council should be doing. And dont get me started on the road improvements. The less intelligent people of this district, such as Localgirl must think the recession is over the way they are showered with gifts. There will be chocolates on their pillows every evening as we get nearer May. If the Chairman of Swanton Morley is standing, and I hope he is, then we might get rid of the waste of space that is presently blocking a seat at County Hall. He can join his bezzie mate Murphy wherever he is vanishing off to. In fact if the Chairman of Swanton Morley is not standing that eel in a bucket would be a good substitute for Borrett, it wriggles less.

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    Friday, February 15, 2013

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