TA centre should be saved for cadets, says Paul

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27 Oct 2009

A Government Defence minister has been urged to protect the future of Newcastle’s Territorial Army headquarters which faces an uncertain future because of a shake-up of Britain’s Army reserves.

Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly said it was vital that local Army and RAF cadets should be allowed to continue using premises at the TA centre at Cross Heath after the 58th Signal Squadron, which is based there, is disbanded next March.

In a letter to Minister of Defence, Bill Rammell, Mr Farrelly said the former barracks complex in Liverpool Road was an important part of the cultural life of the area and its retention was fundamental to the future of the cadets.

“Our cadets use the buildings every week for their training and parades and it is vital that they be given an assurance that they will still have a place to meet locally in the future,” said Mr Farrelly.

“I have also pointed out to the Minister that in recent years considerable investment has gone into the maintenance of the buildings on this site, as well as the commissioning of computer equipment and other improvements. Every effort must be made to safeguard these resources,” he said.

Mr Farrelly has also written separately to English Heritage asking them to investigate the possibility of designating the drill hall at Cross Heath as a Grade 2 listed building.

“The building is a good and well-preserved example of the kind of drill hall that was used extensively by the Home Guard before the war. But very few of these remain.

“Its significance as a cultural and historic asset, as well as its value to the local community, should be preserved if at all possible,” added Mr Farrelly, who is a member of the Commons’ Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.