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19 October 2007

The Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Des Browne MP, today officially opened the first Army barracks in Tidworth, Wiltshire, built and completed under Project Allenby/Connaught by Aspire Defence Limited. This is the largest estates Private Finance Initiative (PFI) ever let by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

It provides modern, high quality, fully serviced and purpose built living and working accommodation for 20% of the British Army, including soldiers from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2 RTR) who are newly returned from Germany.

The most significant change is the provision of single living accommodation which will make soldiers’ lives better. Single soldiers, who used to share rooms and washing facilities in old fashioned Victorian buildings, now have their own bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms in either 36 man blocks or eight man houses.

Each ‘flat’ or house has a communal lounge, a kitchen and a laundry room, with separate individual storage spaces for each soldier. For soldiers who live outside the camp there is a new ‘live out’ change facility which allows them to change their work clothes.

The 28 buildings which comprise the new barracks in Tidworth provide 452 single en-suite bedrooms for senior and junior ranks, a regimental headquarters, two mess facilities, two diners, a leisure facility, workshops and storage. Alongside the living and technical accommodation a range of ‘secondary assets’ such as bin stores, boot washes, garages, a football pitch and landscaped gardens have also been supplied. Construction in Tidworth for other units continues for the next 7 years.

Aspire Defence chairman, Arthur Moore said, “This opening shows what the private sector can achieve in partnership with the Army and the Ministry of Defence; on time, on budget and with a long term commitment to high standards of quality. I want to thank the leaders and teams in the Carillion/KBR services and construction joint ventures that have worked so hard to make today possible. For them it is the first milestone on a 35 year journey.”

“This is a significant milestone, with the new barracks being handed over to the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment just 16 months after the contract with Aspire Defence was signed. It clearly demonstrates the MoD’s and Aspire’s commitment to make soldiers lives better through the provision of modern living and working accommodation for its soldiers.

It delivers on what soldiers want, and the provision of university style campus layouts will positively affect the way soldiers live and work” said Doug Weidner, the MoD’s Project Allenby/Connaught project manager.

The PFI contract with Aspire Defence Limited 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 18,500 military personnel in garrisons across Salisbury Plain and Aldershot.

The Project Allenby/Connaught footprint covers the garrisons of Tidworth, Bulford, Perham Down, Larkhill and Warminster on Salisbury Plain and Aldershot Garrison. 18 months into the contract delivery is on time and to budget and on average one building per week will be handed over to the Army across these garrisons for the next nine years.

Key Facts on Tidworth Garrison:

28 buildings have been handed over as part of the contract of deliver to 2RTR: 11 modular new builds, eight traditional new builds and nine refurbishments.
This includes 452 single en-suite bedrooms (of which 2 RTR occupy 269), new Officer’s and Sergeants Mess, a junior ranks dining centre as well as office and technical accommodation.
There are eleven single living accommodation units, each with single en-suite bedrooms.
There were 10 2RTR construction sites.
Construction started in March 2006 and will run until December 2014..
At peak, 900 construction trades people were working on site including mechanical engineers, ground workers, roofers, electricians, carpenters, painters and bricklayers.
The first building – a refurbished office and store – was handed over to the Army 20 weeks early, at Perham Down
On average, one building per week will be delivered to the Army over the next nine years.
Notes to editors:

Aspire Defence Ltd - a joint venture between KBR (45%), Carillion (50%) and HSBC (5%) was awarded the 35 yr, £8Bn PFI contract on 31 Mar 06.

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