David Stewart MSP

David Stewart steps up Fort George army base campaign

15 June 2011

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart has stepped up the campaign to save a historic army base in the Highlands.

He has tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament calling for Fort George near Inverness to be saved amid speculation that the Con-Dem coalition is considering closing down the barracks, also a tourist attraction, as part of a defence cuts programme.

The motion notes that any plans to close Fort George would have “Severe economic consequences in Inverness and the surrounding areas and have an adverse effect on tourism, including plans to redevelop the Highlanders’ Museum at the barracks.”

It states that the development of a “survival plan” to save Fort George to ensure it remains both a working Army barracks and a premier tourist destination would be welcomed.

Mr Stewart said Inverness-based economist Tony Mackay had estimated the economic impact of closure on the area would be about £30million a year.

He added: “I lodged the motion in the Scottish Parliament because I want to send out a strong message to the UK Government that says hands off Fort George.

“I also want First Minister Alec Salmond to think very carefully about contingency plans for Historic Scotland.”

Mr Stewart went on: “If all our plans to save the barracks fail, we need to have plans in place to preserve the historic buildings and ensure the visitor attraction continues.

“It would be a triple-whammy for the area if Fort George closed because we would lose the link with the Army in the Highlands, the spending power of the military and their families and the benefits of tourism.”

The UK Government is expected to make an announcement on the future of Fort George and RAF Lossiemouth next month.

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Written by davidstewart

June 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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