By Matthew Gooding
Thursday, February 28, 2013
A CRUNCH meeting has been arranged which could decide the future of clubs and societies based at Bassingbourn Barracks.
The barracks is due to close at the end of March when the army leaves the site. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which is responsible for the running of the barracks, had said the gates would be locked and that all clubs and societies based there will have to vacate their premises.
However, thanks to lobbying from Cllr Linda Oliver, Bassingbourn’s county councillor, a meeting has been arranged where the clubs will be able to put their case to the DIO.
Cllr Oliver, who has also enlisted the help of South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley, described the meeting as a “step in the right direction”.
She said: “It will be a chance for the clubs and societies to explain that they can stay on the site without causing any problems to the DIO.
“To just say that everyone has to leave goes totally against the armed services covenant which was signed little more than a year ago between the Ministry of Defence and the district and county councils. This focuses on mutual support between the MoD and local communities.
“Some of these clubs have been on site for 40 years or more and have benefitted thousands of local people.”
Clubs affected by the base closure include the Bassingbourn Snowsports Club. It had been due to start lifting the matting on its slope last month so that it can be put into storage until a new site is found.
However this process has been delayed, and work on the top part of the slope is now not due to begin until next week.
The club has been looking at a number of alternative sites should it have to leave the barracks, with the Barrington Cement Works and Milton Country Park, outside Cambridge, being identified as a potential location for new slopes.