Copthorne army base 'could be downgraded'

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A Shropshire army base could be downgraded as part of defence cuts, a military analyst has said.

Major Charles Heyman said the news affecting the 5th Division headquarters in Copthorne, Shrewsbury, was unveiled at a strategic defence review briefing.

He said it was among several regional army headquarters set to be replaced by one national headquarters.

Major Heyman said he expected the "real detail" of the plans to be announced by Christmas.

He said: "It's [Copthorne] got to be replaced with something, probably something much smaller, that would be reporting to a much larger headquarters somewhere else in the country.

"Although the decision hasn't yet been made where that larger headquarters will be and there's always a slim chance that the larger headquarters will be in Shrewsbury.

"But I'm afraid we have to wait for the detail."

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday defence spending would fall by 8% over four years.

Plans to move hundreds of jobs from RAF Cosford, near Shifnal, to a new £14bn defence training academy in south Wales were put on hold by the government.

The jobs were expected to move to a new Defence Technical College at Vale of Glamorgan by 2014, but the academy plan was scrapped as part of the review.