Falmouth nuclear arms store option rears its head again

First published in Falmouth/Penryn Falmouth Packet: Photograph of the Author by , Ex-Reporter/Photographer

Plans to build a nuclear warhead store on land north of Falmouth have reared their ugly head again this week as defence experts debate the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

Earlier this year, the Packet reported the concerns of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) that proposals first put forward in the 1960’s may be revived in the wake of Scottish Independence.

Although rejected at the time on the grounds of expense and possible environmental damage, the proposals would see Flushing and Mylor Churchtown evacuated to make way for the warhead store.

If Scotland were to split from the rest of the United Kingdom in a referendum tabled for 2014 then the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) have vowed to rid the country’s shores of the nuclear submarines and missiles currently stored on the Rosneath and Gareloch Peninsula in Argyll and Bute.

Last week the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, which oversees British government relations with the devolved Scottish Parliament, found that Devonport in Plymouth would be the most suitable site for the submarines if they were ejected from their current home in Faslane.

However the missiles, currently stored in Coulport, could not be housed in the city and defence expert professor Malcolm Chalmers told the parliamentary inquiry that land close to Falmouth would likely be the favoured site for the weapons.

Business leader Jeremy Edwards, chair of the Port of Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, compared the move to the growth of the docks and welcomed the possibility of an economic boost that it might bring the area.

“Ultimately it would create jobs,” he said. “They would need more people, like security staff, and those people would spend money in the town.

“We have got nuclear power stations scattered across the country and the overall risk to people would be minimal.”

Mr Edwards said he would “have his doubts” over any possible impact on the tourist trade although he did admit that “there’s bound to be a knock-on effect somewhere."

“The devil is in the detail,” he added.

Mylor and Flushing residents would undoubtedly be up in arms if they had to abandon their family homes to make way for a nuclear warhead store, yet parish council chairman John Symons said “it’s too far away” to comment on the proposals.

He said: “We can say one thing now and then when it gets around to it, it could be at the other end of the country – or it could be in Mylor. But three or four years down the line Cornwall could go the same way [as Scotland] so it could go somewhere else anyway.

“Personally, I’m not happy with anything nuclear at all, but when it comes to the crunch then we will have to see what everybody else says.”

Although Mr Symons said he feels an independent nuclear deterrent is “not really needed,” this Monday Conservative defence secretary Philip Hammond reaffirmed the government’s commitment to a new generation of nuclear missile submarines.

Conservative MP for Falmouth and Truro Sarah Newton, who hails from Mylor, said she fully understood the concerns over reports that Falmouth could become a nuclear base in the event of Scottish independence.

Yet she also pointed out that these proposals were not being actively considered, according to the Ministry of Defence.

She said: “I have raised this with the Ministry of Defence and they have confirmed that the government is not considering relocating the nuclear submarine base from Faslane. This story originates from a report that was published in the 1960s where Falmouth was considered alongside many different locations.

“The MoD rejected this proposal at the time and they are rejecting it now. They are not making any plans to move the nuclear submarine base, in the case of Scotland becoming a separate country.”

The Packet broke the nuclear story in February this year, click below to read the original:

Falmouth 'nuclear store' plans revealed

Comments (11)

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1:32pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Claudius says...

I think your headline 'blown out of the water' implies that the problem has gone away, which it appears it hasn't.
I think your headline 'blown out of the water' implies that the problem has gone away, which it appears it hasn't. Claudius
  • Score: 1

2:40pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Mike The Grump says...

And unless this is a wind-up, with November 1st mistaken for April 1st, can I respectfully suggest that a great deal more should be made of the possibility of Mylor and Flushing being "evacuated," rather than mentioned almost as an aside. That would actually be mega-strong news if you stop and think about it.
And unless this is a wind-up, with November 1st mistaken for April 1st, can I respectfully suggest that a great deal more should be made of the possibility of Mylor and Flushing being "evacuated," rather than mentioned almost as an aside. That would actually be mega-strong news if you stop and think about it. Mike The Grump
  • Score: 1

6:24pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Greg Fountain says...

I didn't write the headline, but I think I'm right in saying the "blown out of the water" part is referring to Sarah Newton's comments about the MoD rejecting the proposals and that "they are not making any plans to move the nuclear submarine base, in the case of Scotland becoming a separate country.”

The Mylor and Flushing "evacuation" was not given greater prominence because it is only a possibility, if many other events occur first.

Despite what is sometimes said, we at the Packet try not to sensationalise.

I hope my comments have provided some clarification.
I didn't write the headline, but I think I'm right in saying the "blown out of the water" part is referring to Sarah Newton's comments about the MoD rejecting the proposals and that "they are not making any plans to move the nuclear submarine base, in the case of Scotland becoming a separate country.” The Mylor and Flushing "evacuation" was not given greater prominence because it is only a possibility, if many other events occur first. Despite what is sometimes said, we at the Packet try not to sensationalise. I hope my comments have provided some clarification. Greg Fountain
  • Score: 1

7:13pm Thu 1 Nov 12

CousinJack says...

I'm fairly sure that its not Mylor/Flushing that the MoD, its the headland to the west of St Just Creek (Tregassick?), which abuts the deep water channel up the Fal (this allows the subs to leave submerged if they want).

This land is owned by NT, who would likely do a swap deal with the MoD for lands elsewhere (firing range at Cawsand for example). So no problem there.

Of course the MoD is exempt from planning, so if they decide to do it there will be sweet nothing that can be done to stop it.

This would leave Falmouth harbour looking straight down mouth of the largest nuclear weapons store in western europe. I would suggest that that would have some impact on tourism, particularly on the Roseland.

This should be interesting as the Roseland has one of the oldest and richest demographics of any area in the UK. Old rich Tories versus the MoD, Game On. If only I could spectate this one.
I'm fairly sure that its not Mylor/Flushing that the MoD, its the headland to the west of St Just Creek (Tregassick?), which abuts the deep water channel up the Fal (this allows the subs to leave submerged if they want). This land is owned by NT, who would likely do a swap deal with the MoD for lands elsewhere (firing range at Cawsand for example). So no problem there. Of course the MoD is exempt from planning, so if they decide to do it there will be sweet nothing that can be done to stop it. This would leave Falmouth harbour looking straight down mouth of the largest nuclear weapons store in western europe. I would suggest that that would have some impact on tourism, particularly on the Roseland. This should be interesting as the Roseland has one of the oldest and richest demographics of any area in the UK. Old rich Tories versus the MoD, Game On. If only I could spectate this one. CousinJack
  • Score: 1

7:23pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Claudius says...

Greg Fountain
I still think the headline appears incorrect..but....if you are replying in an official capacity as a Packet employee I very much appreciate the input.I wish interaction would happen a little more often to offer maybe an informed opinion rather than most of us ( I am the worst culprit ) thinking we know better.
Anyway I can't imagine in this day and age a couple of villages being evacuated....pointle
ss too seeing that Falmouth is within spitting distance of Flushing.
Greg Fountain I still think the headline appears incorrect..but....if you are replying in an official capacity as a Packet employee I very much appreciate the input.I wish interaction would happen a little more often to offer maybe an informed opinion rather than most of us ( I am the worst culprit ) thinking we know better. Anyway I can't imagine in this day and age a couple of villages being evacuated....pointle ss too seeing that Falmouth is within spitting distance of Flushing. Claudius
  • Score: 0

7:53pm Thu 1 Nov 12

Greg Fountain says...

Reporting staff are not particularly encouraged to comment on web stories and unfortunately, due to circumstances outside our control, we are unable to actively moderate the comments section of this website (although we are alerted when complaints are made or reports raised.)

That aside, I am glad I could help clarify a couple of points for this particular article - and must also say that anything posted in this comments section under my own name constitutes my own views, and is not necessarily representative of the views held by the newspaper's management/editor.
Reporting staff are not particularly encouraged to comment on web stories and unfortunately, due to circumstances outside our control, we are unable to actively moderate the comments section of this website (although we are alerted when complaints are made or reports raised.) That aside, I am glad I could help clarify a couple of points for this particular article - and must also say that anything posted in this comments section under my own name constitutes my own views, and is not necessarily representative of the views held by the newspaper's management/editor. Greg Fountain
  • Score: 0

9:17pm Thu 1 Nov 12

CousinJack says...

Not Tregassick, duh, Messack point is where the new nuclear warhead store is to be located.
Not Tregassick, duh, Messack point is where the new nuclear warhead store is to be located. CousinJack
  • Score: 0

7:18am Fri 2 Nov 12

molesworth says...

What's the problem here? Support our armed services I say. Submarines are mainly under the water so I don't think tourists will avoid the Roseland because of a few unsightly subs or the threat of a nuclear holocaust (did Scotland suffer because of the nuke sub base there?). Falmouth without the docks would be very dull so a few more marine sheds etc along the shoreline might brighten the place up. I do worry about the dolphins though...
What's the problem here? Support our armed services I say. Submarines are mainly under the water so I don't think tourists will avoid the Roseland because of a few unsightly subs or the threat of a nuclear holocaust (did Scotland suffer because of the nuke sub base there?). Falmouth without the docks would be very dull so a few more marine sheds etc along the shoreline might brighten the place up. I do worry about the dolphins though... molesworth
  • Score: 1

2:13pm Fri 2 Nov 12

CousinJack says...

@molesworth,
yeah wil create loadsa jobs, good,

This will involve levelling a substantial part of Messack point down to a few m above high tide level. These facilitates require extensive warehousing, underground stores, etc and probably a rail link.

We are not talking about a few sub pens here, this is state of the art large scale military complex, much bigger than anything else in Cornwall, even the former St Mawgan footprint or the former Nanceduke/Potreath 'facility' footprint.

This would radiaclly change the landscape viewed from the town and docks.

Plus the security levels needed for thjis installation may have a wide militarised, sorry security, zone around that which might encompass St Just Village and Philleigh. plus access to carrick roads in the vicinity of the base would be restricted.

Have a look at Coulport on the google earth.
@molesworth, yeah wil create loadsa jobs, good, This will involve levelling a substantial part of Messack point down to a few m above high tide level. These facilitates require extensive warehousing, underground stores, etc and probably a rail link. We are not talking about a few sub pens here, this is state of the art large scale military complex, much bigger than anything else in Cornwall, even the former St Mawgan footprint or the former Nanceduke/Potreath 'facility' footprint. This would radiaclly change the landscape viewed from the town and docks. Plus the security levels needed for thjis installation may have a wide militarised, sorry security, zone around that which might encompass St Just Village and Philleigh. plus access to carrick roads in the vicinity of the base would be restricted. Have a look at Coulport on the google earth. CousinJack
  • Score: -1

6:46pm Fri 2 Nov 12

bedoboy says...

Get real....UK will maybe need more submarine bases if the Scots. get their independance. Will not even notice any change in landscape as Plymouth has done for many yrs.
Hope yourselves and many snobs in the area realize that the world is changing and hope you give much respect for our armed forces that try to protect us!
Get real....UK will maybe need more submarine bases if the Scots. get their independance. Will not even notice any change in landscape as Plymouth has done for many yrs. Hope yourselves and many snobs in the area realize that the world is changing and hope you give much respect for our armed forces that try to protect us! bedoboy
  • Score: -1

7:34pm Fri 2 Nov 12

CousinJack says...

@bedoboy

I'm neutral about this, but people should be informed about what is proposed in their area, particularly as this would not be subject to planning.

Side question, what exactly is trident and the 'nuclear deterent' protecting the UK from since the fall of the eastern block? Trident is very expensive and the money saved from scrapping it would fund a number of carriers, fighter jets, and other conventional military collatoral that would better enable British forces to carry out their operations.

I think most people would be more positively disposed towards anaval base, but Coulport as this is proposed to replace is a massive storage and maintenance facility for ICBMs, and serves no other function.
@bedoboy I'm neutral about this, but people should be informed about what is proposed in their area, particularly as this would not be subject to planning. Side question, what exactly is trident and the 'nuclear deterent' protecting the UK from since the fall of the eastern block? Trident is very expensive and the money saved from scrapping it would fund a number of carriers, fighter jets, and other conventional military collatoral that would better enable British forces to carry out their operations. I think most people would be more positively disposed towards anaval base, but Coulport as this is proposed to replace is a massive storage and maintenance facility for ICBMs, and serves no other function. CousinJack
  • Score: 1

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