Gavin Williamson addressed personnel at the base on Thursday with North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones to confirm the home of Commando Logistic Regiment and 24 Commando Royal Engineers would be kept open. Mr Williamson also hinted the base could even expand from its current form to take in more personnel in the future. The announcement came as the Ministry of Defence updated its Better Defence Estate strategy, setting out new information for 33 military sites across the UK. Chivenor is one of five bases across the UK to be retained after an initial decision to close. The announcement was accompanied by confirmation that £1.5billion is to be invested in the UKs defence estate over the next five years. Mr Williamson said: Were very excited and very confident about what we can be doing here in the future. We see this as a great opportunity to be bringing more of our service personnel, taking the best use of what is a stunning and amazing location where more of our service personnel can potentially train and use the benefits of Chivenor. I have no doubt that will mean more investment in the base to make sure its the very best we can provide for our service men and women. Mr Williamson said the decision to keep the base open was one that was finalised in the last few days. He also said the benefits of the base and the role it could play had been highlighted consistently by Mr Heaton-Jones. He added: What weve done is weve looked at what our Royal Marines need for the future, how we make sure they have the very best training facilities and the ability to develop that force and make sure they have everything that they need. Peter Heaton-Jones has consistently made a strong argument as to why we should be keeping Chivenor, the value this brings to our Royal Marines and having looked at it, having looked at the details, looked at what we want in the future, it became apparent to me we need to be keeping Chivenor open. Mr Heaton-Jones thanked Mr Williamson for listening to the loud and clear voices from across North Devon. He said: Two and a quarter years ago we heard there were plans to close this base, the community was as one that we thought that wasnt the right thing to do. Ive taken the opportunity as have many others across the community to put that message to you loud and clear. Im delighted that its been heard, not only for the personnel and their families at this base, but for the wider North Devon community and the economy.