Captain Alistair Willis, commanding officer of HMS Neptune, unveiled a plaque on Thursday 5 June to mark the completion of work at the Churchill estate in Helensburgh.
Since April 2011, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has invested over £18 million in regenerating service family accommodation in the Helensburgh area. In total, 398 properties are being upgraded.
More than £11 million of the money was spent on the Upper Churchill refurbishment programme, which saw improvements made to 225 properties, with work completed a year ahead of schedule and within budget.
Andrew Blessing, DIO’s regional manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said:
For DIO this was probably the biggest concentration of investment on the upgrade of service family accommodation in the UK.
The success of this project has been down to the Royal Navy, DIO, Turner Estate Solutions and their supply chain working together and understanding what the service families’ needs are for the estate. The project has transformed the appearance of the estate and undoubtedly improved the quality of life for service families.
The regeneration was particularly challenging as major construction and civil engineering works were carried out while the residents still lived there, but the end results speak for themselves. We have hopefully instilled a sense of community ownership with the new facilities.
The material facelift of the accommodation is a clear statement of MOD’s commitment to both service families and to the area. Working with DIO, and undertaking the work, were Turner Estate Solutions, architects Grossart Associates, Mansell, Strangs and the Bell Group.
All of the 225 homes received new roofs and entrance canopies, reconfigured gardens, including patios, privacy fencing and sheds, and a new, brighter paint scheme for the exteriors.
The area also benefited from the creation of a multi-use games area, 2 new play parks, resurfaced roads, and improved footpaths and lighting.
One person who welcomed the upgrade was Kay Guy whose husband Graham is a Royal Marines warrant officer working with 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group. Kay, Graham and their 4 children currently live in service accommodation at Churchill. Kay said:
We moved into the accommodation before the refurbishment began. The difference the work has made has been astounding. Over the past few years we’ve got to know the contractors quite well and in some ways it will be sad to see them leave now work is completed.
We have been trying to get the message across that it has changed for the better. Upper Churchill is now one of the most desirable areas to live.
Addressing the gathering during the unveiling of the plaque, Captain Willis said:
The investment that has gone into Churchill the past few years is brilliant. It is people who make a community and this work has been about families; keeping them happy so that our sailors, submariners and marines can go and do the job of delivering military capability from the Clyde.