Michael Fabricant has welcomed the announcement today from the Ministry of Defence today of a £200 million investment in the Whittington Barracks. "This is the culmination of a long hard struggle to secure the future of Whittington Barrack which, at one stage, looked as if it would be sold off for building land. The future of Whittington was not always assured as other sites were being considered by the MOD", Michael Fabricant says.
"There are still a number of hurdles to be overcome as the project will take up to 6 years to complete in an unhealthy economic climate. This may impede the completion of the building programme. I will continue to monitor the process closely.
"But this announcement is excellent news which means that the project – if completed – will mean that over 1,100 Defence Medical Services personnel will be based at Lichfield providing a major boost to local businesses."
The MOD News Release follows.
Accommodation for military medical staff and recruits will receive an extra £200M, the MOD announced today.
Trainees, medics and management staff from around the country will relocate to the West Midlands in a £200M project to provide high quality, fit-for-purpose living accommodation, offices, and training facilities within easy travelling distance of central Birmingham.
Whittington Barracks in Lichfield is set to become the home of military medicine from April 2010. The Midlands Medical Accommodation project (MMA) will see around £200M invested in Whittington Barracks for redevelopment. The move cements the West Midlands as the centre of excellence for defence medics.
Under Secretary of State for Defence, Derek Twigg, said:
"This decision confirms that the West Midlands will be the central focus of the Defence Medical Services. We shall build on the successes of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and our existing partnerships with the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust and Birmingham City University. Lichfield is within easy travelling distance of central Birmingham, meaning we can take advantage of the benefits of proximity of clinical facilities, medical research and training. The range of facilities in the area will enhance our ability to deliver medical support for our forces both at home and overseas on operations."
Full planning approval has been granted for the redevelopment of Whittington Barracks. 2,000 military and civilian staff will eventually work at the barracks when the MMA project completes in 2014.
The decision will bring new jobs to the Midlands over the next few years and will also help to fulfil the government’s objective of moving jobs out of London and South East. Around 200 staff will move from London, Gosport and Halton to Lichfield in 2010.
The MMA project will be delivered in three increments:
a. Increment 1. A new HQ Office building (complete 2010).
b. Increment 2. New and refurbished training accommodation; combined officers’ and senior NCOs’ mess; junior ranks’ dining room; training centre; and lecture theatre (complete 2012-2014).
c. Increment 3. 811 Single Living Accommodation bed spaces (complete 2012-2014).
Increment 1 will involve the relocation to Lichfield of key elements of the Defence Medical Services (DMS) and for the recently established Joint Medical Command. The majority of the new Strategic Medical HQ will be at Lichfield with a small number of staff remaining in London. The HQ of the Joint Medical Command will comprise staffs currently based at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport who were formerly part of the Defence Medical Education and Training Agency; Defence Dental Services HQ staffs based at RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire; the Defence Healthcare Directorate based in central London; and elements of the RCDM HQ based in Birmingham.
Increments 2 and 3 will see the relocation of the Defence Medical Services Training Centre from Keogh Barracks, Aldershot, to Lichfield, and the provision of new fit for the 21st Century training facilities and modernised living accommodation for over 800 staff and trainees. The precise date has yet to be decided, but the move of the Training Centre will be completed between 2012 and 2014. By the end of the project there will be over 1,100 Defence Medical Services personnel at Lichfield, including up to 700 trainees, in addition to over 100 personnel attached to lodger units expected to remain on the site.
Patient care will continue in the Birmingham NHS hospitals, including in the new Military Ward that will form part of the new Birmingham hospital being built at Edgbaston.