More soldiers to move in to bases in Rutland as troops withdraw from Germany
Thousands more soldiers and their families will move to bases in Rutland as the withdrawal of British troops from Germany continues apace.
Their arrival is expected to bring a major boost to the economy in England's smallest county.
Kendrew Barracks in Cottesmore and St George's Barracks in North Luffenham will share in £180 million of investment for new accommodation at bases in the east of England.
About 70 per cent of the Army – about 11,000 troops – will be brought back from Germany by the end of 2015, with the final 4,300 back by the end of 2019.
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Three new units will move to the two Army bases in the county – the first is due to arrive within months.
About 600 men and women of 7 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) will move with their families from Bielefeld, in Germany, to Kendrew Barracks this summer.
They will join the 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment which moved to the base last year from Cyprus.
Lance Corporal Stefan Cross of 7 Royal Logistic Corps told BBC news: "I'm very much looking forward to going back home and I'll be quite close to my family. They're happy about it, as well."
Wife Rebecca said: "It's nice to sample different countries, but I'll be glad to get home to the UK."
The regiment will be joined – not before 2015 – at the barracks by 5 Force Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
It is estimated the base will eventually be home to more than 6,000 soldiers and their families – three times the capacity when it was a RAF base, home to Tornados and Harriers.
Meanwhile, 2 Medical Regiment and 1 Military Working Dog Unit will join 104 Military Working Dog Unit and 16 Regiment Royal Artillery at St George's Barracks, North Luffenham, in 2015.
The Royal Lancers, an amalgamation of the 9th/12th Lancers and the Queens Lancers, which recruits heavily in Leicestershire, will move from Hohne, in Germany, to Catterick where some of the regiment is already based.
Roland Easson, owner of Colin Easson Motors, in Main Street, Cottesmore, said: "From our point of view, it's been absolutely brilliant.
"Most of the soldiers there now came back from Cyprus without vehicles so we've sold a lot of cars and it's been very good on the repairs side of the business.
"It's made a big difference to the local economy and is benefiting the whole of Rutland."
Rutland County councillor David Hollis, who represents Cottesmore, said: "The feedback I've had since the Army moved back is that it's a very good thing.
"There are more people about, more money about and a big base like that shouldn't be standing idle.
"The Army personnel are blending in very well, people are largely positive about it and there have been no problems that I have heard of."
Warren Duffy, landlord of the Boot and Shoe in South Luffenham, said: "I would think it's going to be a good thing for the local economy."
Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan said: "I am thrilled at this announcement, which is more good news for the Army in Rutland.
"We have been working for several years to turn the negative of losing the RAF into a positive and this is another step in the right direction.
"It's a huge boost and a sign of Rutland's place within the strategic distribution of bases and of our continuing links with the armed forces."