Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 13:18 UK

Defence academy plan is approved


The new defence training academy will create thousands of jobs in the Vale of Glamorgan

Planning permission for a new defence training academy which will create thousands of jobs in the Vale of Glamorgan, has been granted.

The £12bn project at St Athan will give specialist training to all the armed services.

Construction is due to begin late next year after the scheme was approved by councillors at a special planning meeting on Thursday.

But the final say on the go-ahead rests with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD announced in 2007 that it was to train servicemen and women at the Defence Technical College (DTC).

The college will provide specialist engineering, communications and information systems training to all the UK's armed forces, bringing them together in one location on new premises.

The DTC will also have recreational and sporting facilities which will be available for public use at set times.

Metrix, the consortium behind the scheme who will build and run the site, said around 2,200 jobs would be created.

Most of the jobs will be in security, cleaning and catering.

On average during the four-year construction period, there will be 800 building workers employed.

'Step forward'

Metrix chairman Charles Barrington said: "It is truly a win-win situation for all the stakeholders involved in this nationally important project.

"This decision is a huge step forward in our plans to reach contract agreement with the MoD in 2010."

Vale of Glamorgan MP Labour MP John Smith said: "This record investment is going ahead here in the Vale and I want people here to get ready for it.

"Get ready to make the most of the tens of millions of pounds that will be injected into the local economy each year."

Construction had been expected to start in the autumn of 2010, and the facility is planned to open at the beginning of 2014.

But BBC Wales's business correspondent Nick Servini said a final decision on the academy was unlikely to be made before next year's general election.


The MoD may not decide until 2011, he said.

A revised timetable on the decision-making is due to be announced next month.

Last week, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Dr Vince Cable said the training academy should be scrapped because it was too costly in the current economic climate.

Plaid Cymru members passed a motion recognising opposition within their ranks at their annual conference this month.

At the same meeting on Thursday, the Vale of Glamorgan council approved a proposal for a new Aerospace Business Park (ABP).

It will be developed by the Welsh Assembly Government and will take advantage of the existing operational runway.

Metrix estimates that the combined economic impact of the DTC and ABP will be around £500m per year.

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