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New homes for soldiers at Aldershot

28 July 2008

Under-Secretary of State for Defence Bob Twigg has marked another significant step forward in the regeneration of Armed Forces accommodation by joining the Army’s Regional Forces Commander, Lieutenant General Nick Parker, to open new soldiers living accommodation in Aldershot, the Home of the British Army.

The new buildings at Aldershot Garrison have been delivered under one of defence’s largest estates PFIs - Project Allenby/Connaught - marking a milestone in the transformation of accommodation. The PFI contract with Aspire Defence Ltd (a consortium of Carillion, KBR and HSBC) is an ambitious programme of redevelopment that will last 35 years and is worth some £8 billion.

Aspire will deliver and maintain 11,500 single en-suite bedrooms together with dining centres and new facilities such as theatres and community centres, supporting the changing needs of the Army for more than 18,700 military personnel in garrisons across Salisbury Plain and Aldershot.

A team from our land planning division, Capita Lovejoy – led by Associate Zoe Cleary - has provided services such as feasibility and scheme design on various parts of the project since late 2002. The team’s work has included landscape input to the masterplanning of the original bid and outline planning submissions; landscape and visual impact assessment; detailed landscape planning submissions; scheme design; detailed design; tender; construction; and assistance with inspections on site.

Bob Twigg and General Parker toured the new living accommodation, which houses soldiers from 27 Transport Regiment, before the official opening last week.

Bob Twigg said: “The standard of accommodation being provided by Project Allenby/Connaught really is first rate and no less than the soldiers deserve. Aldershot is the home of the British Army and I am delighted to have been invited to open the new accommodation and meet some of the soldiers living here. 27 Transport Regiment has recently returned from an operational deployment to Afghanistan, and their new accommodation was delivered early so that could move in immediately. But there is more to this than just accommodation. This is a further demonstration of our commitment to improve the lot of our Armed Forces, of whom we demand and expect a huge amount.”

“I am extremely impressed with what I have seen and by the scale of what has already been achieved under Project Allenby/Connaught. Already, in a little over two years since the contract was signed, more than 2,000 soldiers are living in new en suite accommodation and more than 100 new and refurbished buildings have been handed over to the Army,” he added.

Project Allenby/Connaught has its origins in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, which identified a requirement for more Army units to be accommodated in the Salisbury Plain and Aldershot Garrison areas, as well as delivering on the commitment to improve the living and working environment of Army personnel. The Project footprint covers the garrisons of Tidworth, Bulford, Perham Down, Larkhill and Warminster on Salisbury Plain and Aldershot Garrison.

This is a further demonstration of our commitment to improve the lot of our Armed Forces, of whom we demand and expect a huge amount.

The buildings in Aldershot comprise six 36-man blocks, providing 216 single en-suite bedrooms for senior and junior ranks, a large “Super Diner” capable of feeding 450 personnel in a single sitting, and an office building housing a garrison headquarters and an Army Education Centre. Sustainable features such as solar panels have been incorporated, as have special measures to encourage and protect local wildlife.

Commander Regional Forces Lieutenant General Nick Parker said: “I have been fortunate to have seen the progress made by Project Allenby Connaught in garrisons around Salisbury Plain but I am hugely encouraged by what I have seen here today. This is the beginning of a major transformation in Aldershot which will see the construction of a further 130 new or refurbished buildings and in all some 2,425 new or refurbished en suite bedspaces will be provided, in this Garrison alone.  Investment on this scale will go some way to addressing the shortcomings in Army accommodation and I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those involved in making it happen.” 

“There is a still much more to come in Aldershot and elsewhere in garrisons benefiting from this project, shows that we really are making soldiers lives better. The soldiers are getting exactly what they deserve. But we must not take the foot off the pedal. There remains much to be done but Allenby/Connaught is demonstrating what can be achieved,” he added.

Zoe Cleary, Capita Lovejoy, said: “As well as providing quality new living accommodation, for the first time on these sites soldiers will have the opportunity to relax out of working hours in semi-private garden areas which are enclosed by the cluster of their accommodation blocks and new landscape features - providing a greatly enhanced quality of life”