Michael Fabricant MP has said he is “delighted and relieved” that the Government has secured the future of Whittington Barracks, near Lichfield, as headquarters of Defence Medical Services.
I am delighted and relieved to hear that final phases 2 and 3 of the development of the Headquarters of Defence Medical Services in Whittington has been given the green light. This now secures the long-term future of Barracks as the national headquarters for medicine serving our Army, Navy, Royal Air Force, and the Royal Marines.
Started under the previous Government, after much lobbying for the Lichfield area, I had feared that the state of the nation’s economy might hold up or even stop this project. The Government’s announcement on Monday has secured the future of Whittington Barracks and given it an important national rôle.
This is excellent news for Lichfield and will boost the economy by millions of pounds. As well as 3 senior generals, representing the Army, Navy and Air Force – including the Surgeon General himself – being based in Whittington, scores of doctors and nurses will also be accompanying them. I hope that Lichfield trade associations and the Council will play their part in promoting the City to newcomers to the Barracks who may not be aware of the excellent restaurants, bars, and shops we have in the area.
And this much needed promotion will need to be on-going as there will be a constant turn round of officers – many of whom will have spare cash and will want to know where to spend it!
Writing to Michael Fabricant, the defence minister Andrew Robathan said,
Given your close interest in the Midlands Medical Accommodation (MMA) project, I thought you would wish to know in advance that I propose to make a Written Statement today (Monday) about the progress of the project.
The MMA project aims to create, by March 2014, a new community of excellence clinical, research and training at Defence Medical Services establishments Whittington near Lichfield and in Birmingham, both located in the West Midlands. The project will be delivered in three phases of incremental acquisition, of which, as you will be aware, Increment 1 is complete. I am pleased to say that the funding for Increment 2 is now in place, and a contract for the associated work has been awarded to Carillion plc subject to conditions precedent.
The MMA project will draw together the currently dispersed components of the Defence Medical Services. The foundation of a close geographic community around Lichfield and Birmingham will encourage long-term life and career choices, particularly about stability, housing and education. This community will become a central and enduring feature in the life of the Defence Medical Services. It will be a firm base from which to exploit and sustain progress in military medicine, and a community providing respite from the intense demands of operational service. The MMA project lays the foundation of a cohesive community of excellence and fellowship that will meet, with confidence, the strategic imperative to deliver military healthcare.
Robathan’s written statement to the House of Commons said,
Increment 1 has already delivered a modem headquarters office building in Whittington in which the Surgeon General’s strategic headquarters and the headquarters of the Joint Medical Command are now co-located and fully operational;
Increment 2 will create a modem training centre. This will include new training facilities; a new learning centre; a new lecture theatre; new messes for Officers and for Warrant Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers; service living accommodation for Officers (permanent staff) and a new Junior Ranks’ dining and leisure facility. These will replace the existing facilities at Keogh Barracks which would require levels of investment that compare unfavourably with those of the project and;
Increment 3, running along side Increment 2, will provide modem single living accommodation