£16bn Defence Review Training scheme to begin with £1bn training centre in south Wales

The UK’s largest ever PFI project is set to get the green light “within the next few weeks”.

The £16bn Defence Training Review (DTR) scheme, which will include the construction of a £1bn defence training academy in St Athans, south Wales, is on the verge of being approved by Des Browne, the defence secretary, sources close to the project say.

Architects HLM, Scott Brownrigg and Capita Architecture have created a provisional masterplan for the project, for which residential, training and communal facilities will be built over five years.

A source said: “The project is dependent on the minister’s announcement, but we’re hearing noises that it is imminent.”

The DTR, a 25-year PFI, will be delivered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and partner consortium Metrix. The academy will house up to 6,500 military trainees from the army, navy and RAF, and 3,500 military and civilian staff.

A source close to the project said: “It’s big, certainly a few million square feet. There aren’t that many projects this size in the UK at the moment. It’s going to be a massive boost for the construction industry in that area.”

Metrix is made up of property, training and construction firms led by Land Securities Trillium and QinetiQ, and includes Laing O’Rourke, Currie & Brown, Serco and Dalkia.

Browne announced in January that Metrix had won the first of two contracts on the DTR. Since then, the consortium has been working on its plan to bring nine existing training sites into one training campus at St Athans.

A spokesperson from Metrix said he could neither confirm nor deny rumours that an announcement was expected, but said plans for the development would follow once it was made.