Dame Caroline Dinenage, Member of Parliament for Gosport, has welcomed the Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge MP, to her constituency to visit the accommodation blocks at HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood.
Caroline first raised the issue of sub-standard accommodation at HMS Collingwood in Parliament at the start of the year, following complaints from residents about leaking roofs, damp and mould on the site. Since then, Vernon block has been permanently closed and earmarked for demolition, and work has started on a brand-new accommodation block at the site.
In a follow up question to the Ministry of Defence on November 20th, Caroline asked:
“The Minister may be aware that earlier this year one of the accommodation blocks in HMS Collingwood in my Gosport constituency was shut down all together because it just simply was not fit for human habitation. There are also some issues with the accommodation blocks in HMS Sultan. Could I invite the Minister to come to Gosport to have a look at some of the accommodation on offer for our service personnel? It is simply not good enough, and they deserve better.”
During his visit, the Minister had a chance to look at accommodation blocks of both HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan to see the work that has been done to improve living standards and what still needs to be done. He thanked Caroline for bringing attention to the issue of Naval Base accommodation over recent years.
The Minister said:
“I know that Caroline has been raising the issue of accommodation for two years, and while we have seen improvements, there is more to be done. Infrastructure is a real priority and a big part of recruitment and retention so it is very important in the Gosport constituency where so many military personnel are based.”
Following the visit, Caroline said:
“I would like to thank the Minister for his prompt visit to Gosport. It is great to see that he shares my commitment to improving the quality of accommodation for our Navy personnel. Both HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan deliver an extremely high level of professional training, and the courses can be very long, so it’s important for well-being, morale, and staff retention that they are offered a decent standard of accommodation during their stay.”