In December 2013 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded a £121 million contract for the first stage of work on the new facility at MOD Lyneham. The contract was awarded to Hercules – a joint venture between Kier Group and Balfour Beatty plc. The past two-and-a-half years has seen the former RAF base at Lyneham transformed into a new training facility for the Army’s Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) which is relocating here from Arborfield and Bordon. The move is in the early stages and is due to be fully completed in early 2016.
Following the most taxing part of the whole programme, official handover of key buildings and infrastructure from Hercules to the DIO took place in October, a day that marked the conclusion of a big part of what has been an extremely successful project.
Hercules has delivered new single-living accommodation for military trainees, purpose-built enhanced training facilities including a large outdoor training area, alongside a medical dental centre, gymnasium and Officers’ Mess and museum. As the former RAF site was being “altered”, many existing buildings were re-used, as this was more sustainable than building new ones. The airfield area, with its runway, which will be used for outdoor training, is a good example of this. The new gym building at the Defence College of Technical Training at Lyneham is just one of the facilities delivered by the DIO and its contractors. The new facilities will enable the REME to come together in one location to be trained.
As late as August 2015, building work by Hercules JV was continuing at a pace with 900 staff and contractors still working on site. At the same time, the MOD was already taking over a number of key buildings, within an enclave only accessible from the MOD site (C Site). These buildings were fully ‘operational’ prior to the formal hand over, with all the necessary IT and telephones that allowed offices to be used with construction work progressing elsewhere. A specific team (joint Babcock and REME) charged with managing the physical move of assets and people from Bordon and Arborfield has now been established in what will be the Instructors offices.
Some big assets and equipment moved to the site in early August as the training ‘term’ at Arborfield and Bordon ceased for Summer leave. This ensured that there was as small a gap in training as possible, with training commencing at Lyneham on 9 October 2015.
The work involved in ensuring that all the necessary services, equipment and facilities come together at the right time (in only 10 weeks) with as little inconvenience to the local community as is possible. Alongside this a number of families moved into the SFA over the summer period to ensure that their children could take up their places at local schools. REME is now fully established at Lyneham.
So: ‘What next’. The original plan to move the training from RAF Cosford, HMS SULTAN and Blandford was reviewed within the Strategic Defence & Security Review, which reported in November 2015and the need to rationalise Defence estate holdings. These training facilities will remain in their current locations for the time being. The MOD is currently undergoing a major review of its estate holdings the results of should be available in late summer / autumn 2016. It is considering other tasks for the site, in the knowledge that planning permission for further development had already been granted.
The Lyneham Steering Group (LSG) formally stood down ) brought together community related groups affected by the transition to Defence Technical Training to provide a ‘voice’ for their particular concerns and resolve issues, where possible.
You can find out more about the project through the following links:
- Lyneham Steering Group (LSG) is formally stood down )
- Military Civilian Integration Partnership-http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/communityandliving/mci-new.htm
- The Royal Wootton Bassett Chamber of Commerce
- MOD Jobs in Lyneham
Pictures of the construction are available here: