Sir Nick Harvey, former MP for North Devon and Armed Forces Minister writes:
"We are launching this petition because if you make enough noise, governments can and do change their minds. We must show that North Devon values and supports the armed forces at Chivenor.
The military case for closing Chivenor is flimsy: It is large, modern, flexible and cheap to run (we are a low-wage area) compared to many others. It is nonsense to claim that the Royal Marines WANT to close Chivenor. They have had a ‘pistol put to their heads’ with budget cuts, and have been ordered to axe sites.
It makes far more sense to shut some Scottish military bases, but Ministers fear the fuss the Scots would cause - whereas their own backbenchers and councillors will roll over like pussy-cats and take it.
Chivenor’s closure will leave a hole of up to £40 million a year in our economy. The Government have done no impact assessments on their chosen sites for closure. Old-fashioned crumbling bases in city centres have developers queueing at the gate. Their economic ‘gap’ would soon be back-filled.
Chivenor is very different: does the Government care – or have they washed their hands of us?
Worst of all, closure is in 2027, so there will be an eleven-year dark cloud hanging over the site. If some of it is going to be housing we need to know that now, so we can stop controversial building on other North Devon sites.
Together we can stop this. So please sign the petition and get all your friends and family to do so too.
We, the undersigned, express our shock and anger at the Government’s plan to close Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor; invite them to acknowledge the steadfast support given by the North Devon community to the armed forces at Chivenor over the decades back to World War Two; demand that they recognise the impact that Chivenor’s closure would have on the local economy, schools and public services; call on them to face up to their responsibilities toward marginal economic areas like North Devon when deciding basing policy for public services; and urge them to abandon their plan and to retain Chivenor as a substantial military base for the Royal Marines and Royal Engineers.