Army camp plans go on show

Joseph Bulmer

Major proposals for the redevelopment of the former Fremington army base are to go on show this Saturday

PLANS for the redevelopment of the former army camp at Fremington are to go on show at an exhibition this weekend.

Proposals for a “mixed residential and employment” development on the 42-acre site are expected to be submitted to North Devon Council this summer.

Developer Fremington Developments LLP said it had carried out a number of technical studies since purchasing the site from the Ministry of Defence site in December last year and now wanted to give local residents the opportunity to comment on the draft proposals for the camp.

Partner, Francis Firmstone, said: “We have been able to construct a detailed understanding of the site’s technical constraints and opportunities over recent months.

“There are some interesting opportunities and we hope to be in a position to submit a detailed planning application later in the summer.”

Mr Firmstone said developers were now looking at whether some of the buildings might be retained for community use.

“Hut 60 could have potential as a changing room for the adjacent sports pitch. It has also been suggested that The Ship and the Miniature Range could have a new community uses.

“We would be interested to hear local views on what those uses might be.”

The camp, used by the US military during World War Two, has been the subject of much speculation since closing in December 2009.

It has been heralded by some – including North Devon MP Nick Harvey and local councilor Rodney Cann – as the ideal location to host construction workers building the planned Atlantic Array wind farm in the Bristol Channel.

Last year, an unsuccessful application to list the camp was lodged with English Heritage.

North Devon Council’s 2006 Local Plan proposes an allocation of around 200 homes including office and light industry, recreational open space and associated community facilities.

The camp remains an important site in the North Devon and Torridge Joint Core Strategy draft document but its inclusion has already attracted a flurry of comments, many of them negative.

Among the concerns are the camp’s access and the potential for traffic congestion on the B3233.

Objectors say that further development could damage wildlife habitats or change the character of the village. Others have questioned the visual impact any development could have due to the site’s close proximity to the estuary and Tarka Trail.

Supporters say that if the camp is developed, it should be for affordable housing for the local young people of the area although other suggestions for the camp include using it as a countryside park, a military museum or for recovering soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

The exhibition takes place at Fremington Parish Hall on Saturday, May 21 from 10.30am until 4pm.