Plymouth's new £30m amphibious 'hub' to be ready within a year
A MAJOR £30million project to bring the Royal Marines' amphibious facilities to Devonport is expected to be complete within the next 12 months.
The Devonport Landing Craft Co-location Project will move the training facilities in Poole, Dorset, and the base at Turnchapel to one super centre at the Naval Base.
Having been in the pipeline for almost seven years, the Commanding Officer of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines said the new facilities would allow him to manage the unit in one central location.
Speaking from the site, Colonel Garth Manger, said: "This brings together the amphibious community into one location; it will be the hub for the Royal Marines and Royal Navy amphibious capability.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"Currently I have people in Poole and people in Turnchapel; I'm bringing them into one place and I will be able to repair and look after them [amphibious equipment] in one location – in a manner I've been unable to so far."
The contract for building the new facility was awarded to Debut of Lend Lease.
Project manager Richard Foxon said: "It's a challenging project but it's going well. Co-ordinating between us, the marines, the stakeholders and the Navy as well as working within the dockyard is a massive logistics and co-ordination issue but it's been successful."
Brigadier Ged Salzano, Commandant Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, cut the turf in October last year and since then two buildings have been erected, a new slipway formed and pillars put in place for some new pontoons.
The facility will house the headquarters of 1AGRM, provide office space, training facilities and the machinery to enable the large landing craft to be hauled from the water with relative ease.
Maintenance of the fleet will also be able to be carried out from the larger 'sheds'. The construction has not been without its challenges, with nearby lakes being dredged to increase the depth of water allowing for the new craft.
Location of the site is key to the unit being in proximity to HMS Bulwark's and HMS Ocean's berths, from which a number of assault squadrons are regularly embarked.
Within the building dedicated to personnel, a huge wetroom has been created to allow for commandos coming straight from the water into the facility to get showered and changed.
Col Manger added: "It's going really well. Debut are delivering on time as I would expect. I'm lucky that I happen to be in command at the time it's all coming together."
Up to 400 personnel will relocate into Devonport with the first group of commandos leaving Turnchapel in April next year.
They will be followed by 10 Training Squadron who will leave RM Poole in July.
It is expected the amphibious vessel centre will be in full operation from September.
Residents are unlikely to see much of a change apart from the large vessel sheds, which have been coloured green and blue in recognition of the marines' and Navy's colours.
Commander Tim Geary, who jointly headed the project, said: "It's good news for Devonport that this investment is being made and it underpins the ongoing presence of the naval community here in Plymouth."
The amphibious assault group operates a range of boats including the Landing Craft Utility, Offshore Raiding Craft and Landing Craft Air Cushion (hovercraft).
Comment Page 11