ALMOST 70 staff are moving out of a Dorset military base in a nationwide efficiency drive.

They are leaving the huge petrol depot at West Moors and moving to Bristol.

The 14 military and 55 civilian posts will be transferred in November to Abbey Wood, home of the Defence Equipment & Support Secretariat (DE&S).

“It will be a shame, they have been here a long time and people become part of the village,” said Cllr Shân Edwards, vice chairman of West Moors Parish Council.

“We are always sorry to lose people and we want to maintain the prosperity of the village.”

The West Moors base, currently home to 35 military staff and around 120 civilians, has vast underground storage tanks on a 188 hectare site.

It stores petrol, oil, and lubricants for all three branches of the armed forces. There are more than 130,000 Jerricans on the site alone.

The DE&S is making the changes in a nationwide “co-location project” that started in 2007 and should be finished in 2013.

A spokesman said: “There will be no reduction in the fuel storage at West Moors. “The co-location of staff only relates to tasks of an administrative and managerial nature and does not affect storage capacity.”

The personnel leaving were part of the Defence Fuels Group, which was headquartered at West Moors. It has now been merged into the Defence Food Services and Defence Fuels Group.

The base is also home to the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service Training Centre, which is operated separately.

There are no plans to move staff from other locations into West Moors. The site will still be home to staff from the Petroleum School and Logistics Services.

The DE&S believes the nationwide changes and job cuts will save £560 million over 25 years and improve management. It expects more job cuts in the ongoing defence review.