HC Deb 09 July 1996 vol 281 cc161-2
5. Sir Teddy Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to make a decision on the future of the Horseshoe barracks, Shoeburyness. [34901]

Mr. Soames

I am glad to tell my hon. Friend that we decided last Friday to dispose of most of Horseshoe barracks, Shoeburyness. My Department will retain a small enclave to provide facilities for Defence Evaluation and Research Agency staff at New Ranges.

Sir Teddy Taylor

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his statement, as the barracks have been under-used for a long time. Can he give me a clear assurance that he will work together with the local council to make sure that, as far as possible, this superb site is used to increase employment in Southend, where it is very much needed?

Mr. Soames

I am happy to give my hon. Friend that assurance, and I thank him for all the work that he has done to push us forward to this conclusion. I regret that it has taken so long. As my hon. Friend knows, there is no further defence use for the site. We will therefore establish a joint working party to consider all the options open to us. It will consist of the Ministry of Defence, Essex county council, Southend-on-Sea borough council and possibly English Heritage. I am happy to give my hon. Friend all the assurances that he seeks.

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