Councillor says North Devon Council should be seeking out ministers to press home just how important RMB Chivenor is to the region

Councillors have been called upon to take the battle to keep RMB Chivenor open all the way to Whitehall.

Speaking at the North Devon Council executive committee on Monday, Councillor Rodney Cann said they should be seeking meetings with ministers to ‘press home the overwhelming case’ for keeping Chivenor as a military base.

In November the Ministry of Defence said it was looking at closing RMB Chivenor by 2027.

But during a visit to the base in March this year, defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said there had been ‘no final decision’ on whether it would close.

Mr Cann told councillors: “Not for the first time we must ensure the Government fully understand the importance of Chivenor to the Marines, the local economy and the people of North Devon.

“The Chivenor base is unique in that it has advantages that are essential to the Marine corps and which cannot be replicate in any other part of the UK.”

He cited numerous reasons why the base should remain open, saying it was a large site with scope for expansion.

He said there was a significant number of married quarters and accommodation right next door.

Plus he said it was ideally situated with the nearby off-road vehicle training area on Braunton Burrows plus the estuary and extensive beach training areas.

Mr Cann said RMB Chivenor also made a significant contribution to the local economy, providing trade for local businesses and contributing towards funding for local education.

He said it was in a sensitive area of the Taw and Torridge Estuary and close to the North Devon Biosphere, adding: “Were the base to close the site does not readily lend itself to wholesale development as this would have a devastating impact on the natural environment that enjoys international recognition.”

At the time of his visit, Sir Michael Fallon said it was ‘a big decision’ for Chivenor and it had been made very clear to him the strength of its connection with the community and the importance of the decision for local businesses and the jobs that depend on it.