WHERE NOW? Children from Holywell School on the Junior Life Skills scheme enjoyed their time at Fremington Army Camp.
FREMINGTON Army Camp could become a housing estate with 200 homes after the military facility closes in the autumn, a planning document confirms.
According to the North Devon Local Plan, which was adopted in July 2006, development will be permitted at the camp for a "range of uses" including 200 dwellings, including at least 50 affordable homes.
Offices, light industry and recreational open space could also appear on the 35 acre site near the Taw estuary.
The local plan states: "If the site does become available during the plan period, a development brief will be required to ensure the Army camp is comprehensively redeveloped with a mix of residential, business, recreational and community uses.
"The redevelopment of the site should ensure that the existing playing fields are retained with the land to the north of the camp incorporated for recreational purposes and made available for the whole community."
There would also need to be pedestrian and cycle links, a bus stop, and contributions for extra capacity at Fremington School or help to pay for a new school at Instow. But any development is unlikely to happen in the near future; with house building at a virtual standstill, developers are battling to sell existing new homes, never mind building new estates.
Accommodation at the Second World War training camp is due to close in October.
Army spokesman, David Harris said the site was "worn out and had come to the end of its economic life".
Troops will continue to train on Braunton Burrows while using Okehampton army camp as their base — a 70-mile round trip.
The Army said nine staff are under consultation about redundancies and three employees might be able to relocate to RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall.
Workers at the camp have disputed the Army's claim that only nine jobs will be lost and that there are a number of decrepit wooden huts.
A number of employees, none of whom would be named, said that 21 jobs would in fact be lost, including 12 catering roles, and that the huts were block built and not wooden.
One Ministry of Defence worker claimed the huts needed refurbishment but were not beyond repair.
Mike Sim, senior supervisor at Costcutter in Fremington, just opposite the entrance to the camp, said: "We get quite a few soldiers from the camp come here to buy things like energy drinks, food and a lot of cosmetics like shower gel and toothpaste.
"We also get a lot of trade from young Cadets that use the site. We will certainly notice a difference in trade when the camp goes. There are enough people in Fremington to sustain the business but it would definitely make a dent."
Amanda Wycherley who helps organise the Junior Life Skills scheme at the camp was also concerned.
She said: "The scheme takes in Year 6 pupils from across North Devon and teaches them things like fire safety, first aid and recycling practices.
"We have been holding these at Fremington Army Camp for the past five years. It is the ideal location for these events because it is a secure site with large open areas.
"If the camp shuts we will have to go elsewhere but I don't know where. It is rather inconvenient and there will also be cost implications."