Armed Forces Minister meets community leaders during visit to MOD St Athan
ARMED Forces Minister Andrew Robathan visited the MOD base at St Athan and held an informal meeting with local community leaders last week.
Mr Robathan's visit on Tuesday (October 16) came as part of a base review of sites across Britain, and he cautiously said there would be an announcement before Christmas about the future role of the base.
"There will not be 15,000 airmen coming back, but we may increase the number of soldiers on the base," he said.
"We hope to have a decision before Christmas. We are looking at all bases across the UK. It's a major process."
He told the community leaders, who included representatives from St Athan, Rhoose and Llanmaes Community Councils, as well as the Vale Council, that he hoped the future of the site would benefit St Athan and the whole of South Wales.
"We want to work with yourselves and the Welsh Government to make sure St Athan is a community air site," he added.
"It's important that we engage the community and do something positive."
Vale MP Alun Cairns, who arranged the informal meeting at the Gathering Place in St Athan, said he was looking forward to the future role of the base being confirmed.
"That decision will be done by the end of the year, and I wanted to ensure St Athan was at the forefront of their thinking," he said "I was delighted that the minister responded to our calls to visit the site and talk to community leaders.
"He spent all day on the site and that would have given him an understanding of the issues of the Enterprise Zone, the size of the hangar and the military operation.
"We will be calling on him to give us a major military unit, in addition to the Special Forces already there."