HC Deb 28 January 1993 vol 217 c854W
Mr. Stern

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress there has been in his plans to allocate his Department's procurement executive at a site near Bristol; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken

I am pleased to announce to the House that, following a careful review, the Government have decided to proceed with the construction phase of this important project.

A detailed planning statement was registered with Northavon district council, the local planning authority, on 22 January 1993. Following completion of the formal consultation process, we expect that the construction of the development will commence with the site infrastructure works in the spring of this year, with construction of the buildings starting in late summer. The site has been designed to accommodate a total population of some 5,500, including support staff. Occupation is scheduled to start in the autumn of 1995 and I expect all PE HQ business operations to be managed from Abbey Wood by the late autumn of 1996.

This ambitious project will provide not only a considerable stimulus to the local economy but also to the hard pressed construction industry who will be competing for work. We expect that up to 1,500 jobs will be created during the construction phase; in the longer term, up to 1,000 posts at the new headquarters will be filled by local recruitment, together with further job opportunities to meet the need for efficient running and support of the complex.