Minister for Defence People & Veterans visits Aspire
Tour of Army Basing Programme construction sites showcases new soldiers’ accommodation
The Rt. Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans (above, right), has seen first-hand the significant defence infrastructure improvements being delivered across Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) to support the £1.8Bn Army Basing Programme (ABP).
The Minister, whose ministerial portfolio includes responsibility for the Armed Forces People Programme, DIO Better Defence Estate and Welfare & Service Families, was hosted by Major General Richard Wardlaw OBE, Director Basing and Infrastructure (above, left), in Larkhill on Thursday 25 April.
The visit included a full update of ABP works underway, a tour of Larkhill Garrison including the joint NHS and military healthcare facility currently under construction, and the new Service Families Accommodation being built next to the Garrison by Lovell.
Mr Ellwood said:
“I’m thrilled with the progress made under the Army Basing Programme since my last visit in August 2017. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the team and it has been pleasing to see first class working and living accommodation being provided for our Service personnel and their families. Many challenges have been overcome to reach this critical year for the programme with much support provided by other agencies. I hope all those moving this summer enjoy their new life in Wiltshire.”
With around 4,000 Service personnel and 1,300 families due to return from Germany from 1 June and additional unit moves taking place within the UK, there has been significant investment over the last three years to build new working and living accommodation and additional facilities across SPTA, to support the needs of the modern Armed Forces and deliver value for money for the MOD.
Major General Richard Wardlaw said:
“It was a delight to host the Minister and showcase the facilities being delivered under the Army Basing Programme. All key assets are on track and will enable the withdrawal of HQ 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade and associated units from Germany to the UK. These moves will start in earnest in just over five weeks, and we are well prepared for the influx of personnel and look forward to welcoming them to Salisbury Plain.”
One of the key assets visited by the Minister and critical to delivery of the ABP programme at Larkhill Garrison is the Junior Ranks’ diner, a state-of-the-art building with capacity to serve up to 1100 soldiers during one meal time. Mr Ellwood was impressed with the quality and scale of the building and will return in June to officially open the diner and enjoy a meal with troops.
The ABP team was ably supported during the visit by their valued and trusted contractors Aspire Defence and Lovell, responsible for delivering the infrastructure ‘behind the wire’ and new Service Families Accommodation respectively. The whole team looks forward to welcoming the Minister back in June 2019.
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