£20m revamp for Welsh Guards’ new Surrey base

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has completed the £20m redevelopment of Elizabeth Barracks in Pirbright, Surrey, in preparation for the arrival of personnel from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards.

Working with industry partner PriDE the project, which completed last week, turned a number of buildings which were nearing the end of their lifecycle into modern, fit-for-purpose facilities.

This included new build and refurbished living accommodation for more than 400 personnel, offices, sports and welfare facilities, vehicle workshops and new kitchens. Significant improvements were also made to the energy efficiency of all buildings.

The Welsh Guards will officially take over Elizabeth Barracks on 5 December, following their move from Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, West London.

The redevelopment, which began in August 2012, is part of the Army Basing Programme, which will provide the facilities the army needs to live, work and train in the UK as it returns from Germany, rebases across the UK and restructures under Army 2020.

More than 30 army units have been moving and or changing roles within the UK this year as part of the programme, freeing up infrastructure and sites and allowing units to better align to their Army 2020 structures. In turn this creates the conditions to enable later moves from Germany and within the UK that will take place over the next five years.

In total, more than £1.64 billion will be invested in infrastructure across the UK as part of the programme, boosting the economy and providing around 1,900 new homes for Service families, more than 4,800 new bed spaces for single soldiers and working, technical and training infrastructure.

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, DIO Director of Programmes and Projects, said:

“Our priority is to provide a better estate for our armed forces – that means the right buildings in the right places and to the standard Service personnel deserve and require. The redevelopment of Elizabeth Barracks helps us to achieve this aim and will further establish the area as a key Army hub in the future.”

Major Karl Dawson, Officer Commanding Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards said:

“Before this project, Elizabeth Barracks had gone beyond its lifecycle and was ready to be demolished. In quick turnaround the DIO made the barracks fit-for-use and delivered quality accommodation and facilities more suited to today’s infantryman.

“We put a lot of personal time into visiting the site daily to ensure the standard of the barracks was suitable for modern living with quality accommodation, welfare and sports facilities, such as a new high-tech gym. We’re delighted with the results and look forward to occupying the barracks.”

Colour Sergeant James Geen, 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards, added:

“It’s a great camp all round.”

DIO Project Manager George Liu said:

This was a challenging and complex project that involved a change of incoming unit during construction. This meant quickly amending designs and absorbing additional works into an already demanding timetable.

“The Welsh Guards were hugely supportive and worked closely with us to ensure the barracks would meet their needs. We’re pleased to have delivered quality accommodation and facilities for the Welsh Guards to time, within budget and to a standard they require. We hope the soldiers enjoy their new home.”


Further information:

Press enquiries to Nicole Herlihy, Communications Officer 01264 382 145 / 0121 311 2418

Email: DIOSSEComms-PubAffComms4b@mod.uk

DIO website: www.gov.uk/dio l Twitter: @mod_dio l Read DIO’s blog: https://insidedio.blog.gov.uk/

Notes to Editors          

1) The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a vital role in supporting our Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing what the men and women who serve our country need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.

2) DIO is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties, as well as providing related support services, to meet the current and future      needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.

3) The Army Basing Programme (ABP) is a joint DIO and Army programme, set up to implement the Regular Army Basing Plan announced by the Secretary of State for Defence in March 2013. It will provide the facilities needed to bring the Army back from Germany and restructure under its future operating model, Army 2020 and deliver the Government’s commitment to bring all troops back from Germany by 2020.

4) More information about 1st Battalion Welsh Guards is available here: www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/23991.aspx

Photograph captions:

[All to be credited to Nicole Herlihy; Crown Copyright/MOD2014.]

Guardsman Dale Williams (front) and Lance Corporal Nathan Williams from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards enjoying the newly refurbished living accommodation at Elizabeth Barracks Pirbright.

Major Karl Dawson from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards in the new refurbished gym at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright.

Colour Sgt James Geen from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards getting a coffee in newly refurbished welfare facilities at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright.

One of the new build single living accommodation blocks at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright.