Plans to move the famous Black Watch battalion to Leuchars by 2029 have been described as a “tremendous opportunity” for Fife.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed proposals to restructure the Army.
Members of the north-east Fife and military communities have hailed the decision as a major boost for the base and the town.
Move will ‘give Leuchars some life again’
Jacqui Crowe, secretary of Leuchars Community Council, said: “I personally think it’s a great move.
“I think Leuchars is underutilised. It’s great for the area. It’s a great asset to the town.
“To have more people here and give the town some life again is a great thing.
“Since the RAF left the town has been so quiet and it so desperately needs a new lease of life. I am happy about this.”
Ronnie Proctor, the Provost of Angus, is a former member of the Black Watch regiment and secretary of the Black Watch Association.
He says the move would put the regiment “right in the centre of where they originally came from”.
He added: “Leuchars is a brilliant place and the move will be brilliant for the area.
“It is right across the water from Dundee and Angus and next door to Perth and Perthshire.
“It also means that the soldiers who are based there will be closer to home.”
‘More Scottish soldiers will be based nearer home’
Major General Bill Wright, Scotland’s senior general officer in the Army, said: “Scotland will gain a major unit and Future Soldier will also see a higher proportion of the British Army based in Scotland.
“This provides an opportunity for more Scottish soldiers to be based nearer home, while delivering a broader range of exciting roles.”
Wendy Chamberlain, the MP for North East Fife, says the Black Watch move is “good news for our area”.
She said: “Bringing more Army personnel to Leuchars and expanding the base is a tremendous opportunity for local communities, and for our local economy.
“Leuchars is the natural choice and the traditional recruiting ground for the Black Watch.
“With recent guarantees from the RAF that the runway will also continue to provide support for the Typhoon fleet, and that will include continued investment in the base’s facilities, the future looks very bright.”
Holyrood colleague Willie Rennie – the area’s MSP – said: “Leuchars is fast becoming an important hub for the Army in Scotland and the Black Watch will find a warm home in Fife, the heart of Black Watch country.
“Local Liberal Democrats have been calling for this kind of investment for the base for years and it’s a great relief to finally see the future of Leuchars guaranteed.
We've just heard that the Army will be relocating Black Watch to Leuchars. This is good news for the Black Watch who will find a warm home in Fife – the heart of Black Watch country. pic.twitter.com/5lWHUt9cND
— Willie Rennie (@willie_rennie) November 25, 2021
“What we need to see now is that the area gets the proper investment in local infrastructure to support the new families, so we can make the most of the knock-on effects for local businesses and job creation.”
Murdo Fraser and Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative MSPs for Mid Scotland and Fife, have also hailed the regiment’s “return home”.
Ms Smith said: “This announcement is a real ‘welcome home’ message to the Black Watch and is great news.
Fife and Tayside have been the recruiting grounds for the regiment for many years
Murdo Fraser MSP
“Fife and Tayside is the ancestral home of the famous regiment, so it is heartening that they will be returning there.”
Mr Fraser said: “Instead of being based up north, the Black Watch will be coming home.
“Fife and Tayside have been the recruiting grounds for the regiment for many years, so it is entirely fitting they will now be based at Leuchars.
“It will also provide a major economic boost for the north-east Fife economy.”