Plans for a £14bn defence training academy in the Vale of Glamorgan have been scrapped after the Ministry of Defence said its preferred bidder had not come up with affordable proposals.
The project at St Athan has been axed as an expected reduction of up to 8% in the UK government’s defence budget takes effect.
Technical non-combat training for the Armed Forces would have been provided at a new campus.
However Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the MoD still thought collective technical training based on as few sites as possible was the best option and that it intended to use St Athan for future military training in some form.
The Defence Training Rationalisation Project (DTR) was hailed as a major boost for the local economy when the Metrix consortium was named preferred bidder in 2007, subject to it developing an affordable and value for money contract proposal.
The decision has been criticised by Welsh politicians with Chris Bryant MP saying the move showed that the UK government had turned it’s back on Wales.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain also condemned the decision describing it was a massive blow to the area:
“It is a disgrace that the government is binning a world beating training facility for our armed forces.”
In a statement, Dr Fox said: “Given the significance of this project and the opportunity to provide a world-class training facility, the MoD has worked tirelessly to deliver this project.
“However, it is now clear that Metrix can not 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.”
He added: “Collective technical training, collocated on as few sites as possible, remains in our view the best solution for our Armed Forces.
“Equally St Athan was previously chosen as the best location on which to collocate that training for good reasons, and we still hope to base our future defence training solution there.
“We will however now carry out some work before finalising the best way ahead; including to confirm both our training and estates requirement, and the best way to structure the solution that will meet them.”