A planned £13 billion defence training academy has been cancelled after the Ministry of Defence said Metrix, its preferred bidder, had not come up with affordable proposals
Under the plans drawn up by Capita, HLM and Scott Brownrigg technical non-combat training for the Armed Forces would have been provided at a huge new campus at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales.
The 280ha scheme was understood to be the largest PFI project in the country.
Earlier today (19 October) Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the MoD still thought collective technical training based on as few sites as possible was the best option and that it intended to use St Athan.
The Defence Training Rationalisation Project (DTR) was hailed as a major boost for the local economy when the Metrix consortium was named preferred bidder in 2007, subject to it developing an affordable and value for money contract proposal.
In a statement, Fox said: ‘Given the significance of this project and the opportunity to provide a world-class training facility, the MoD has worked tirelessly to deliver this project.
‘However, it is now clear that Metrix can not deliver an affordable, commercially robust proposal within the prescribed period and it has therefore been necessary to terminate the DTR procurement and Metrix’s appointment as preferred bidder.”
He added: “Collective technical training, collocated on as few sites as possible, remains in our view the best solution for our Armed Forces.
‘Equally St Athan was previously chosen as the best location on which to collocate that training for good reasons, and we still hope to base our future defence training solution there.
‘We will however now carry out some work before finalising the best way ahead; including to confirm both our training and estates requirement, and the best way to structure the solution that will meet them.’
Alternative options will be looked at as soon as possible and it is hoped an announcement on future plans will be made in the spring, Fox said.
Charles Barrington, chairman of Metrix UK said: ‘Metrix, its partners and the MOD have all worked extremely hard and in close partnership to deliver a solution which offers value for money combined with the very best technical approach to training and a rationalised estate. Despite the best efforts of all concerned, the combined effect of an extremely tough economic environment and numerous commercial and technical challenges meant that the project could not be delivered within the framework and timescale originally intended.’
‘I would like to personally thank all of our supporters for their hard work, support and dedication to the DTR project.’