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Armed forces officials join fight to save army cadet base

PUBLISHED: 13:36 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:36 05 December 2019

Kevin Pellatt, Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner, has written to object to plans for new homes that woudl affect the base of Harleston Army Cadet Force. Picture: Denise Bradley

Kevin Pellatt, Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner, has written to object to plans for new homes that woudl affect the base of Harleston Army Cadet Force. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Norfolk armed forces officials have added their voices to opposition to a housing development that could put the future of a popular youth army cadet group in doubt.

The Harleston troop of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force has provided activities including parade, physical fitness, navigation and team work at its currebnt base since the 1960s. Picture: Norfolk ACFThe Harleston troop of the Norfolk Army Cadet Force has provided activities including parade, physical fitness, navigation and team work at its currebnt base since the 1960s. Picture: Norfolk ACF

Norfolk Armed Forces Commissioner Kevin Pellatt and Major Bob Gibbs, executive officer of Norfolk Army Cadet Force, have both written to South Norfolk Council to object to the plans for land off Station Hill in Harleston.

Kentford-based Code Development Planners wants to build 40 new dwellings on the three acre former builders' yard but the plans have raised concerns over its impact on the base of Harleston Army Cadet Force (ACF) that would lose most of its outdoor facilities, including its parade ground.

The base of Harleston Army Cadets on Station Hill. Picture: Simon ParkinThe base of Harleston Army Cadets on Station Hill. Picture: Simon Parkin

MORE: Plans for 40 homes on site of town's former railway station



In their submissions both armed forces officials say the plans would be against South Norfolk Council's policy to 'improving the level of community facilities'.

Major Gibbs began his own 30 year military career in the ACF as a cadet sergeant with the City of Norwich Troop before seeing operational service with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Iraq.

Young members of harleston Army Cadet Force during the First World War remembrance parade to the town war memorial. Picture: Ian CarstairsYoung members of harleston Army Cadet Force during the First World War remembrance parade to the town war memorial. Picture: Ian Carstairs

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He said: "Norfolk Cadet Force is a thriving MOD sponsored uniform youth organisation that provides children in Harleston between the ages of 12 and 18 with unparalleled personal development and life changing experiences which there is a clear need for now and to fortify for future generations.

Land where 40 new homes could be built off Station Hill was last used as a builders yard and store. Picture: Simon ParkinLand where 40 new homes could be built off Station Hill was last used as a builders yard and store. Picture: Simon Parkin

"The ACF hut and training ground are well established community facilities that have been in place since the mid-1960s. To permit development on the training ground not only be contra to the council's planning policy but moreover be detrimental to the facilities available."

MORE: New homes plan could see army cadets lose parade ground

Mr Pellatt said: "The loss of this facility may mean that the organisation ceases to be viable in terms of its core delivery."

The Harleston force currently has 40 cadets and parents are also among the dozens who have commented on the plans.

Jane Simmonds, from Redenhall, said: "The Harleston Army Cadets led the remembrance parade through the town and I was very proud of the fact my daughter and nephew were part of the troop.

"There are few opportunities for young people in the area where teenagers can get together and learn new skills such as parade, first aid, physical fitness, navigation, team work and survival. It would be shameful to take away the outdoor space as many of the cadets activities are based there."


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