Documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act reveal costs of getting troubled scheme off the ground.

Client Defence Estates spent more than £50m on the delayed £2bn Colchester Garrison PFI scheme in the nine years to January 2005, it emerged this week. The project only started on site in February last year.

Documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act show the full extent of the funding that was required to get the scheme off the ground. They are the second set of documents sent to Building this month under the act, which came into force on 1 January.

The first were reports and emails concerning the decision to appoint Bovis Lend Lease as construction manager on the £400m BBC Broadcasting House redevelopment.

Financial close on the Colchester project was eventually reached with the RMPA Services consortium (which includes Sir Robert McAlpine, Atkins, Sodexho and HSBC Infrastructure) last year, eight years after it was first launched.

The project ran into trouble because of planning difficulties after RMPA was appointed preferred bidder in 1999. It was forced to resubmit planning permission in 2002 because of required changes to retain trees, hedgerows and existing buildings.

The total spent on outside consultants for the nine years to last month amounted to £13.7m, including VAT.

The documents also reveal project running costs incurred by the Ministry of Defence. These amounted to £17m for the period up to and just after financial close (1996-2004) and £21m last year, when the project had started. They included: staff costs, operational costs such as travel and subsistence for staff, office equipment and materials and IT, munitions clearance, ecological and archaeological surveys, the cost of the team’s London offices and payments made to RMPA.

Building has also been sent details of the 82 ha of land to be sold on the site between February last year and March 2010. Developer Taylor Woodrow agreed to buy the land for housing and commercial development last February. The document states that the total purchase price for the land is expected to reach about £96m.

The scheme, due for completion in 2008, will provide accommodation for 3500 military personnel and at least 200 civilians.