§ Mr. Pickthall
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Colchester Garrison PFI project. 
§ Mr. Spellar
I am delighted to announce that, following a thorough evaluation of detailed proposals from three short listed bidders, we have now selected RMPA Services, a consortia comprising Sir Robert McAlpine, Primary Management and W.S. Atkins, as the preferred bidder for the redevelopment of Colchester Garrison.
Detailed contract negotiations will now commence with RMPA Services with the aim of achieving contract signature towards the end of next year.
The benefits which we see flowing from this deal are the replacement of an estate which is mainly old and substandard, poorly laid out and significantly underscale, with one which will provide high quality barracks and facilities which conform to the appropriate accommodation scales, are flexible to use and are capable of further development. Furthermore this will be achieved very much more quickly under the PFI route than would be possible using our own internal procedures. For example, once the contract is signed we expect the redevelopment to be complete within four years compared to the 15 years it could have taken using a conventional, staged approach. It will also free up land for redevelopment close to Colchester town centre and therefore be of benefit to the local community.
Finally, this is a good deal for the taxpayer. As a result of the competitive bids received, we believe that from RMPA Services will offer the MOD excellent value for money resulting from design efficiencies, economies of scale in development and a more cost effective delivery of the support services.