SNP Govt company takes over English military port

Marchwood military port, near Southampton. Picture: PA
Marchwood military port, near Southampton. Picture: PA
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A company jointly-owned by the Scottish Government is to take control of running one of the UK’s biggest military bases in the South-east of England, it has been confirmed.

The move has prompted concerns from locals who live nearby the Marchwood military port in Hampshire and are now demanding SNP ministers set out their plans for the base.

David MacBrayne, which is owned by Scottish ministers, will take over the running of the 330-acre site as part of a joint venture entitled Solent Gateway.

The MoD has awarded it a 35-year concession to manage the military movements through the port.

Fred White, chairman of Marchwood Parish Council said: “There has been a lot of local concern.”

The MoD palns have been opposed by the council, but there were also fears about a rival bid from another firm, ABP.

Mr White added: “We are particularly concerned about what the proposals with regard to the new operator are going to be, as far as the port is concerned.

“We will be writing to them shortly, very shortly now it’s in the public domain, to ask them what they’re going to do with the port.”

But David MacBrayne chief executive Martin Dorchester moved to ease local concerns, revealing he is confident that the deal will mean new jobs for the area.

“Marchwood presents significant opportunities for additional commercial development,” he said.

“We are committed to safeguarding existing jobs on the site and over time, and with full community consultation create more jobs as our plans for the site develop. Solent Gateway wants to become an important community partner in the area,”

Scottish transport minister Derek MacKay said the award is testimony to the company’s “expertise and reputation.”

He added: “Although DML’s core market is and will remain Scotland, with focus retained on serving our island communities, we are supportive of the company’s efforts to explore opportunities which align with Ministerial expectations and its business expertise.”