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PLANS for a new defence college of technical training at the former RAF Lyneham site were unveiled this week.
Villagers and former RAF workers visited St Andrew’s Church to talk to army personnel and project managers.
Technical training for the armed services is provided across a number of sites including Arborfield, Blandford, Bordon, Cosford, Gosport and St Athan.
The new defence technical training college at Lyneham will co-ordinate some of these activities at one base.
Students will receive training for electronic and mechanical engineering, in aeronautical engineering or in communication and information systems.
The plans include a technical area, providing indoor teaching facilities.
Hangars will be refurbished and extended to provide workshops and teaching areas.
There will also be living accommodation, a medical and dental centre, a church and prayer room, mess and dining facilities and retail facilities.
Much of the redevelopment will consist of upgrading and refurbishing buildings while the airfield area will be retained and used for outdoor training.
Building work will be carried out in two stages. Tranche one will take up 150,000 sqm of the site and tranche two will take up an additional 150,000 sqm.
By the end of the development there could be 5,500 personnel on site.
The plans were received enthusiastically by local people in Lyneham who were keen to see a military presence in the village again.
Tim Buckeridge, of Anchor Road, Calne, used to serve in the auxiliary air force at Lyneham and came to see the plans.
He said: “It’s keeping it operative so that’s quite sensible.
“It will be completely different from what I was used to but it will be good for the local economy because it will obviously create a lot of jobs.”
Anne Townsend, of Spirit Hill, near Calne, said: “I think it’s a good thing and as far as local people are concerned it doesn’t seem as if it will be too much different in terms of traffic flow and traffic management.
“I think it’s a good thing and much better than the possibility of other less suitable development which I think would have caused issues with people nearby.
“We all admire what they do to keep this country safe – there’s no animosity, it’s just we would like to be kept up to date with what’s going on.”
The defence infrastructure organisation hopes to submit a planning application by May 2013. Work on tranche one could start in early 2014 and end in late 2015.