Contractor part of Metrix consortium “terminated” for massive St Athan project

A £14bn plan to consolidate all of the Ministry of Defence’s training facilities on to one site in South Wales has been ditched in advance of today’s announcement of the outcome of the Strategic Defence Review.

The St Athan facility was to have been built by a consortium called Metrix which included Laing O’Rourke and consultant Currie and Brown. The announcement made it clear that all contracts with the Metrix consortium have been terminated.

In a statement defence secretary Liam Fox said: “It is now clear that Metrix cannot deliver an affordable, commercially-robust proposal within the prescribed period and it has therefore been necessary to terminate the DTR procurement and Metrix’s appointment as preferred bidder.”

The statement over what’s called the Defence Training Rationalisation project (DTR) does not link the move to today’s announcement of the wider strategic defence review, due to be made by prime minister David Cameron in the House of Commons.

The MoD had been attempting to create a new purpose built Defence Technical College at St Athan giving soldiers a much improved training and living environment. It was to have included 3240 single rooms, 483 married quarters, and modern training accommodation and facilities, and allowed the closure of two existing training sites. It was to be open by 2015.

Metrix, which originally included Land Securities’ PFI arm Trillium in addition to Laing O’Rourke, was appointed preferred bidder in January 2009.

A statement from the consortium’s chairman, Charles Barrington, said: “Metrix, its partners and the MOD have all worked extremely hard and in close partnership to deliver a solution which offers value for money combined with the very best technical approach to training and a rationalised estate.  Despite the best efforts of all concerned, the combined effect of an extremely tough economic environment and numerous commercial and technical challenges meant that the project could not be delivered within the framework and timescale originally intended.”

It is not known how much, if anything, Metrix was paid in severance of its contract.

An MoD spokesperson said the department was still keen to consolidate its training provision, and will now start working on options for a new scheme.