News story

Welsh Guards’ new Surrey base £20 million revamp

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has completed the £20 million redevelopment of Elizabeth Barracks in Pirbright, Surrey, in preparation for the arrival of personnel from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards.

New build single living accommodation at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright
New build single living accommodation at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright (Crown copyright)

Working with industry partner PriDE the project, which completed last week, turned a number of buildings which were nearing the end of their lifecycle into modern, fit for purpose facilities.

This included new build and refurbished living accommodation for more than 400 personnel, offices, sports and welfare facilities, vehicle workshops and new kitchens. Significant improvements were also made to the energy efficiency of all buildings.

The Welsh Guards will officially take over Elizabeth Barracks on 5 December, following their move from Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, West London.

The redevelopment, which began in August 2012, is part of the Army Basing Programme, which will provide the facilities the army needs to live, work and train in the UK as it returns from Germany, rebases across the UK and restructures under Army 2020.

More than 30 army units have been moving and or changing roles within the UK this year as part of the programme, freeing up infrastructure and sites and allowing units to better align to their Army 2020 structures. In turn this creates the conditions to enable later moves from Germany and within the UK that will take place over the next five years.

In total, more than £1.64 billion will be invested in infrastructure across the UK as part of the programme, boosting the economy and providing around 1,900 new homes for service families, more than 4,800 new bed spaces for single soldiers and working, technical and training infrastructure.

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, DIO Director of Programmes and Projects, said:

Our priority is to provide a better estate for our armed forces, that means the right buildings in the right places and to the standard service personnel deserve and require. The redevelopment of Elizabeth Barracks helps us to achieve this aim and will further establish the area as a key army hub in the future.

Major Karl Dawson, Officer Commanding Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards said:

Before this project, Elizabeth Barracks had gone beyond its lifecycle and was ready to be demolished. In quick turnaround the DIO made the barracks fit-for-use and delivered quality accommodation and facilities more suited to today’s infantryman.

Major Karl Dawson from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards in the newly refurbished gym at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright.
Major Karl Dawson from 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards in the newly refurbished gym at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright. (Crown copyright)

We put a lot of personal time into visiting the site daily to ensure the standard of the barracks was suitable for modern living with quality accommodation, welfare and sports facilities, such as a new high tech gym. We’re delighted with the results and look forward to occupying the barracks.

Colour Sergeant James Geen, 1st Battalion the Welsh Guards, added:

It’s a great camp all round.

DIO Project Manager George Liu said:

This was a challenging and complex project that involved a change of incoming unit during construction. This meant quickly amending designs and absorbing additional works into an already demanding timetable.

“The Welsh Guards were hugely supportive and worked closely with us to ensure the barracks would meet their needs. We’re pleased to have delivered quality accommodation and facilities for the Welsh Guards to time, within budget and to a standard they require. We hope the soldiers enjoy their new home.”

Published 18 November 2014