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POLITICIANS have welcomed plans to increase the number of Army troops based on Salisbury Plain.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced on Tuesday that about 70 per cent of the Army will be brought back to the UK from Germany by the end of 2015, with the final 4,300 returning by the end of 2019.
The change will result in Salisbury Plain having the largest number of troops – 15,000 – in the UK by 2020 and the Ministry of Defence will spend about £850 million to develop Army bases in Wiltshire.
Devizes MP Claire Perry said the change would increase the number of Army personnel in her constituency by more than 4,000.
Mrs Perry said: “I am delighted our towns and villages will be welcoming new soldiers, which will give a real boost to the economy.
“The Salisbury Plain Training Area is the only place in the country where the Army can carry out complex and demanding training and it makes perfect sense to concentrate units that work together around the Plain.”
Coun Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “This is excellent news for the whole of Wiltshire.
“I’ve always said we’re very proud to be a military county and this will build on this status.
“This will lead to more families putting down firm roots in our communities.
“The military is growing significantly in this county and we will continue to work closely with our military partners to make sure the right services and infrastructure are in place to support this growth.”
The relocation from Germany will also result in other restructuring.
Larkhill will continue as the spiritual home of the Royal Regiment of Artillery with four new artillery units.
Bulford will become the new home of 5th Battalion The Rifles and to 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. Tidworth will become the home of The Queens’ Royal Hussars (The Queen’s Own and Royal Irish).
Perham Down will receive a third Engineer Regiment.