Tidworth Community Area Partnership (TCAP)
The Tidworth Community Area (C.A.) covers 12,267 hectares of rural countryside in the east of the County of Wiltshire bordering the county of Hampshire. There are two main settlements, Ludgershall characterised by its castle and the garrison town of Tidworth. Today some 87% of the areas population of 16,092 live in these two settlements. 63.8% of the population live in Tidworth, of which 76% are soldiers and their dependants.
The town of Tidworth came into being with the acquisition by the army in 1897 of large tracts of Salisbury plain as a training ground. Since then the area has been dominated by the army connection and Tidworth Netheravon and Bulford Garrison has now been designated as a "super garrison". This means its personnel is due to increase, with a further 3,500 people set to come into the garrison area over the coming years.
The C.A.'s history, however, dates back far earlier than the current military dominance suggests. A castle later to become a royal hunting lodge was established in 1103 at Ludgershall although by 1540 the castle had fallen into disrepair. The surrounding downland and the nearby Chute forest provided excellent hunting in the medieval period and later large flocks of sheep provided the wealth for the area.
The army domination shows up in statistics. The C.A.'s population has the youngest age profile of any of the 20 Community Areas in Wiltshire only 10% of its residents are aged 65 and over compared to nearly 19% across the County. Some 36% of the workforce is employed in public administration or defence, making the army by far the largest local employer. Around a fifth of all housing is rented from the MOD, easily the largest proportion of all of Wiltshire's community areas.
There are some downsides to this, especially when it is recognised that qualifications for those aged 16-24 are lower than other C.A.s. After the army, employment opportunities are limited with jobs in manufacturing and tourism well below the County average. Despite the rural nature of much of the area, jobs in agriculture are also well below other rural communities, as much of the land is managed in large estates for the army.
Deprivation indicators show that within Wiltshire, the wards within the Tidworth Community Area exhibit high levels of deprivation under specific domain headings. Overall, Tidworth was ranked 8th out of the 137 most deprived wards in Wiltshire (IMD 2000), but Ludgershall also has significant deprivation under specific domains, including being ranked 24th out of the 137 most deprived wards in Wiltshire in terms of income deprivation, 35th in terms of health deprivation, 23rd in terms of education and skills, and 14th in terms of housing. The other area of note is the Shalbourne electoral ward (part of which lies within the Community Area) with a rank of 23rd for housing deprivation and 5th for access to services deprivation. Out of the 281 Super Output Areas (IMD 2004) in Wiltshire, Tidworth North East is ranked as 25th most deprived and Ludgershall North 78th.
The C.A. is benefiting from substantial investment by the army through the provision of excellent sporting facilities shared with the community, such as the Tidworth Leisure Centre, which also houses a new library, and refurbishment of the Oval athletics track. Over 500 soldiers' family quarters have been rebuilt to a high standard and also a new Primary Healthcare Facility. The redevelopment of army single soldiers' accommodation barracks and other facilities under Project Allenby will be the next phase. The army has built up strong links with the local community and this will be continued by the consortium who will be delivering the contract under Project Allenby.
The C.A. has benefited and is continuing to do so from substantial investment in the area and nearby such as development of Tidworth College and its business units, a 13 hectare business park at Ludgershall, a 65 hectare business park at Amesbury, two new doctors' surgeries, a Lidl store and a new Tesco store in Tidworth.