Long-running plans for a £13bn military academy to train the combined Armed Forces in south Wales - known as the ‘Defence Training Review’ have been approved.
The plans are to be funded under the largest-ever PFI deal. Building work is expected to start at the former air base in St Athan late next year after Vale of Glamorgan councillors gave planning consent for the £13bn campus.
Supporters have hailed it as the biggest single public investment in Wales and an opportunity to bring thousands of jobs to the area.
The proposed Defence Technical College (DTC) will provide specialist non-combat training for all three services on a 1,000-acre site, which will accomodate 3,000 students at a time.
The Metrix consortium, led by the former government-owned defence research agency Qinetiq, was named preferred bidder for the contract by the Ministry of Defence in 2007.
The group said the college would benefit the local community, for example by opening its sport and leisure complex to the public.
Metrix chairman Charles Barrington said: “It is truly a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved in this nationally important project.”
Metrix said the college would create a development the size of a small town, with “all the facilities that would be expected of a small town”.
When completed, it will be the country’s largest vocational training operation delivering important changes in military training over the next 30 years.
The Metrix consortium:
- City & Guilds
- Currie & Brown
- Dalkia (part of Veolia Environnement)
- Laing O’Rourke
- Nord Anglia Education
- The Open University