In January 2007 there were concerns in the local area that, with the planned relocation of much of military training to the new tri-service defence training centre in St Athan Wales, the long-established camp at Blandford in Dorset would be closed with the loss of 1,000 local jobs. Today however Blandford Camp, home to the Royal Signals, is in the vanguard of the MoD's £8.4billion programme for the refurbishment of the country's military housing stock.
170 family living quarters are being"upgraded" at Blandford at a cost of £7.8 million. At almost £46,000 per unit, this sounds like some upgrade - the accommodation must have been in a lot worse state than even the most severe critics thought. Knowing that there is a budget of £8.4billion to be spent over 10 years, can lead to "liberal" spending in the early stages only to find that six or so years down the line all the monies have been spent and there's not enough left at the bank to complete the programme (especially when inflation over the planned 10 years is taken into account). I am sure though that, given the MoD's track record on project managment and budgetary control, there is no danger of this happening here.
It is good to read that work is underway on upgrading and refurbishing military accommodation. Although it's disgraceful that many service families and personnel are going to have to carry on living in sub-standard accommodation for up to 10 more years, that the refurbishment programme is starting to deliver tangible results is to be welcomed.
Link> MoD: A History of Blandford Camp
Link> Dorset Echo: Defence plans will ‘devastate’ local economy
Link> AV: Housing complaints still roll in
Link> Refurbishment at Dale Barracks
Link> Project Slam: Refurbishment at Pirbright