21 October 2005

Aldergrove watchtower faces chop

Belfast Telegraph

By Eddie McIlwaine
21 October 2005

The main watchtower overlooking RAF Aldergrove is to be demolished.

The observation post at the camp's checkpoint will come down this weekend.

And the task of removing the unsightly look-out block will begin 16 years, almost to the day, since it was built.

This is the latest development in the plan to demilitarise the province in the wake of the IRA decommissioning of arms.

The tower at Killead Road, Aldergrove, was erected on October 27, 1989, just as the Berlin Wall was being knocked down.

Station Commander Baz North has been negotiating for weeks the removal of all look-out towers around the base.

He has held a meeting with local residents to make them aware of what is going on at the camp, which accommodates more than 4,000.

A local farmer said today: "It is good news that this ugly tower is being removed. I don't think it has been occupied for the past three or four years."

Along with the tower, other barriers at the checkpoint will go, including a huge grid, erected to protect the tower from rocket launchers.

And look-out posts around the camp's perimeter will also come down in due course.

Killead Road leading to the base will be closed this weekend to facilitate the work and homes in the area will be without electricity on Saturday.

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