For the Army Basing Programme (ABP) 2019 has been a target year for several years. Therefore it seems a good time to have a look back at what we have achieved in the last 12 months as well as a look ahead to what promises to be a very exciting year to come in this incredibly ambitious programme.
ABP is a £1.8 billion capital infrastructure programme. Today infrastructure delivery is quite advanced both outside and ‘behind the wire’. In addition to delivering over 1,350 Service Family Accommodation homes for Service personnel and their families, we have also been busy building and refurbishing key infrastructure such as training facilities, over 4,000 Single Living Accommodation bed-spaces, Regimental HQs, messes, gymnasiums, armouries and much more.
A look back at 2018
We have achieved an incredible amount of work throughout our peak year in 2018 and will be investing around £485 million in this single financial year, the biggest investment in the Army estate ever in a single calendar year. Last year began with our North team completing both the new armoury at Kinloss and the police station in Leuchars in quick succession.
This was closely followed by the delivery of 322 new three- and four-bedroom homes for Service families at the Ashdown Estate in Tidworth. The South Team also finished the Peninsula sports facility modular refurbishment at South Cerney, and the new armoury and training facilities at Thorney Island.
Over the summer, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal facility and the new sports pitches were delivered by the North team in Dreghorn in Scotland.
In August 2018, ABP reached the key milestone of £1 billion investment in the UK on new and refurbished infrastructure across the Army estate. This is a fantastic achievement and a testament to the many hours of hard work that have been invested in this programme.
Autumn saw work finished at Imphal on the new living accommodation and 1 UK Divisional Headquarters in York. The £70 million project at Marne and Bourlon Barracks in Catterick also came into service at the end of 2018 providing new and refurbished facilities at both locations. At Bourlon this Grade 2 listed building was brought back into service and converted from an accommodation block into spacious modern office facilities.
Meanwhile, on Salisbury Plain, the Project Allenby Connaught team have delivered an impressive range of assets and those who have witnessed the sheer scale of the changes on the ground to date in areas like Larkhill and Tidworth cannot fail to be impressed. The Tidworth Medical Centre, the Senior Ranks Mess, the Junior Ranks Single Living Accommodation and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer accommodation at Bulford particularly stand out, but I know there is much more that has been achieved and delivered.
Our plans for 2019
Looking ahead, ABP’s project at Lyneham is well underway; the first phase of Single Living Accommodation will be handed over in May with the second phase refurbishment of building 210 the Powerpack Repair Facility will be complete by August, finally phase three including workshops, sports facilities, welfare facilities and offices will be complete in Spring 2020. This will allow MOD Lyneham to become a Centre of Excellence for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) with the co-location 5 Bn REME , the Defence School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and the Defence College of Technical Training.
Finally, over the year the Salisbury Plain Training Area Service Family Accommodation team have injected real rigour and drive into the project and are now reporting that Lovell will exceed their target of houses to be completed by over 80 properties by May 2019. This contracted work is unprecedented in ‘low rise residential building’ and is massively impressive.
Exciting times ahead
The progress on all three sites has been staggering and will peak in the Spring with 26 completed family homes being handed over to DIO SD Accommodation for allocation. At Bulford and Ludgershall in particular, you now get a real sense of the communities we are building, with primary schools, a community centre coming on line and the environment in which the thousand or so families who are returning from Germany next year will make their home and bring up their children for years to come. ABP is leaving a real legacy for the Army and the people of Wiltshire.
Year six of the programme has begun in the same way, delivering on yet more key milestones. Service personnel and their families are preparing to return to Wiltshire and other parts of the UK this summer and will be welcomed back with first class accommodation. The first houses at Bulford and Ludgershall have now been completed and handed over to DIO Accommodation ready for their arrival.
Even more to come
It is remarkable just how much has been achieved over a relatively short period, and it is not until you step back that the scale of achievement becomes apparent. This is a relatively small programme team integrated with DIO and Army staff working to a shared objective. Everyone has played their part, and everyone should take genuine pride in what we have accomplished so far and the legacy we leave behind. There is of course more to do over the next two years before programme graduation but looking back on the excellent work so far will help sustain everyone as we meet the challenges to come.