PLANS for a £multi-million redevelopment at Taunton’s UK Hydrographic Office have been “indefinitely postponed” because of the recession.

Kevan Jones, Under Secretary of State for Defence, announced yesterday (Wednesday) the project to rebuild the MoD facility at its Admiralty Way site was “no longer financially viable”.

He blamed the economic downturn, which has hit land prices – part of the UKHO site was to be sold for private housing to fund the redevelopment.

The MoD will now spend £4.5m over three years repairing existing buildings, some dating from the 1940s.

Chief executive Mike Robinson said: “In the current economic climate this is a prudent measure to safeguard our future.

“We remain committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all our staff, but our priority must be to invest in new technology and systems to ensure UKHO remains a world-class success.”

The print and distribution operation, which was to relocate off site, will now stay, although plans to axe 300 jobs over five years will continue.

Taunton MP Jeremy Browne, who campaigned to keep the UKHO in Taunton when the MoD considered possibly moving it to Exeter, said he hoped the new development would soon proceed.

He said: “The most important decision was to keep the UKHO in Taunton.

“The existing building is quite dated and will need to be replaced at some point.

“The current economic climate is clearly having an impact on the investment decisions of all organisations.”