Catterick - Scandal of homes unfit for Britains heroes

#1
from today's Yorkshire Post

Scandal of homes unfit for Britain's heroes

By Jonathan Reed Political Editor
EXCLUSIVE: The shocking state of living conditions for soldiers at Britain's largest garrison, in Yorkshire, is laid bare today as figures reveal thousands are still living in "substandard" accommodation.

The catalogue of complaints seen by the Yorkshire Post about Catterick Garrison include broken windows going unrepaired and toilets left in such a state that they overflow.

The Ministry of Defence has even admitted more than half the accommodation for single soldiers – in excess of 5,000 beds – is sub-standard.

And despite Ministers pledging massive investment to improve accommodation it could be seven years before some of the work is completed.

Shadow Defence Minister Andrew Murrison said: "This is another example of the military covenant being broken by Lab-our. It is entirely unacceptable that our personnel are living in sub-standard accommodation."

The condition of single-living accommodation at the Garrison – where infantry soldiers carry out much of their training – was revealed to Parliament after inquiries by Mr Murrison.

Defence Minister Derek Twigg said 5,310 of the 10,472 beds for single accommodation are classed as being some of the worst quality – Grade 4 on a sliding scale of one to five for deciding how much rent soldiers pay.

The MoD said a series of factors, including location, affected the grading – but an official admitted that Grade 4 accommodation "would have to be a pretty old structure and need some work doing to it".

Ministers are introducing measures including priority healthcare for troops and council tax rebates in response to fierce criticism over their attitude towards the armed forces.

There are concerns over a manpower crisis as conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan prompt some service personnel to quit.

Britain's biggest Army base, Catterick covers 2,400 acres. Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former commanding officer in the Army, said he had been there about a year ago and found windows that had been broken but not fixed, and some blocks suffered from flooding toilets.

"They were absolutely clear they simply didn't have the budget to keep the accommodation up to snuff," he said, adding that it could be a "final straw" in persuading soldiers to quit.

"They go out on to the moors, have a difficult, wet, cold time, which is a bit of a culture shock, and when they come back in they expect something a bit better than broken windows and sewage on the floor," he added. ...
There's quite a bit more. Full story at the above link. Comments?
 
#2
It is going to take time to get all the accommodation up to scratch, like the railways, funding has been cut back so far for so long that even with increased spending it is now just a matter of time.

The conservatives in the past have not exactly been that good with our armed forces, if memory serves me correct, Defence Secretary John Nott in Maggies government was determined to cut back the navy to such a level that it could not fight conflicts like the falkands, but the argies invaded before his cut backs took hold and maggie decided she wanted to keep the islands.

So lets hope that this current public feeling towards the armed forces holds, we are spending just 2% GDP on the armed forces at the moment, I think it is no time to take a serious look at government spending overall, make some cuts in other areas if required, (the government currently spends £159 billion on social protection and I bet there could be some cuts there) and increase defence spending, and have the balls to go in front of the nation and defend that decision.

Duncan
 
#3
I lived in Maidstone married quarters in Invicta Park in 94 accomodation was way below standard paying minimum rent.

We used to get health inspectors visiting the quarters to test for damp (my neighbours and me had strange mushroom like growths growing on our carpets because of how damp it was) asbestos roofs linings in the sheds.

The accomodation was due to be demolished when I moved out in 95 but last I heard (2007) they were still being lived in (poor b@@@@rs)
 
#4
Dunc0936 said:
and have the balls to go in front of the nation and defend that decision.
I think I can see a flaw in your plan...

msr
 
#5
..A traditional 100-bed hotel costs Travelodge around £5 million to build. Construction using shipping containers reduces costs by up to 10 per cent, making the bill for a hotel of the same size around £4.5 million.

Using Verbus Modules also shaves approximately 25% off construction time, meaning a 100-bed hotel can be built in 30 weeks, instead of 40.

The budget hotel chain plans to build approx 40 hotels each year to 2020 - and believe up to half could be constructed using the modular system.
http://www.travelodge.co.uk/press/article.php?id=285


Is there any reason why it will take up to 7 years to sort accomodation out?

Travelodge is saying they can build a 100 bed hotel in under a year and for 5mil.

Is this a case of the military being lousy at negotiating contracts or the govt not providing the funds?
 
#6
Scabster_Mooch said:
..A traditional 100-bed hotel costs Travelodge around £5 million to build. Construction using shipping containers reduces costs by up to 10 per cent, making the bill for a hotel of the same size around £4.5 million.

Using Verbus Modules also shaves approximately 25% off construction time, meaning a 100-bed hotel can be built in 30 weeks, instead of 40.

The budget hotel chain plans to build approx 40 hotels each year to 2020 - and believe up to half could be constructed using the modular system.
http://www.travelodge.co.uk/press/article.php?id=285


Is there any reason why it will take up to 7 years to sort accomodation out?

Travelodge is saying they can build a 100 bed hotel in under a year and for 5mil.

Is this a case of the military being lousy at negotiating contracts or the govt not providing the funds?
because the way I see it, travel lodge is a plc and shareholders to answer to, the MOD is part of government and has no one to answer to and even if the NAO says it was money badly spent, nothing will happen and contractors will charge more, and take longer (correct me if Im wrong)

Duncan
 
#8
Leccy said:
I lived in Maidstone married quarters in Invicta Park in 94 accomodation was way below standard paying minimum rent.

We used to get health inspectors visiting the quarters to test for damp (my neighbours and me had strange mushroom like growths growing on our carpets because of how damp it was) asbestos roofs linings in the sheds.

The accomodation was due to be demolished when I moved out in 95 but last I heard (2007) they were still being lived in (poor b@@@@rs)
Funny that: I lived there in 1989 and heard many times that the Poulson designed quarters were so poor that they would soon be replaced. Yeah, right!

Litotes
 
#9
Scabster_Mooch said:
..A traditional 100-bed hotel costs Travelodge around £5 million to build. Construction using shipping containers reduces costs by up to 10 per cent, making the bill for a hotel of the same size around £4.5 million.

Using Verbus Modules also shaves approximately 25% off construction time, meaning a 100-bed hotel can be built in 30 weeks, instead of 40.

The budget hotel chain plans to build approx 40 hotels each year to 2020 - and believe up to half could be constructed using the modular system.
http://www.travelodge.co.uk/press/article.php?id=285


Is there any reason why it will take up to 7 years to sort accomodation out?
Travelodge is saying they can build a 100 bed hotel in under a year and for 5mil.

Is this a case of the military being lousy at negotiating contracts or the govt not providing the funds?
Yes, a lack of money and a lack of political will.

Litotes
 
#10
Scabster_Mooch said:
..A traditional 100-bed hotel costs Travelodge around £5 million to build. Construction using shipping containers reduces costs by up to 10 per cent, making the bill for a hotel of the same size around £4.5 million.

Using Verbus Modules also shaves approximately 25% off construction time, meaning a 100-bed hotel can be built in 30 weeks, instead of 40.

The budget hotel chain plans to build approx 40 hotels each year to 2020 - and believe up to half could be constructed using the modular system.
http://www.travelodge.co.uk/press/article.php?id=285


Is there any reason why it will take up to 7 years to sort accomodation out?

Travelodge is saying they can build a 100 bed hotel in under a year and for 5mil.

Is this a case of the military being lousy at negotiating contracts or the govt not providing the funds?
I have looked at this with some business partners in China and we concluded that we could have prefabricated accomodation, mass produced in China to a very high standard, including all fixtures and fittings such as washing machine,etc. have it shipped to the UK (or wherever) at a unit price of £25,000 per unit. Assembly costs would be minimal. Life expectancy of unit designed at 30 + years of robust use. All production overseen by expat Boxhead quaility control . We could easliy have over 20,000 units shipped within two and half years.

In short there is no real supply problem.

The conclusion was from one of my partners who is very experienced in UK property, is that just too many people connected to the decision making process, are making too much money by keeping things as they are.

Sorry Tom, was ever thus.
 
#11
During a debate in Parliament regarding Service accommodation, 11 MPs plus the speaker and 4 ushers were present. Only 1 cabinet member was present.
During a debate on MPs pay and allowances, 535 MPs were present including every cabinet member except 2. The speaker, 12 ushers and 15 officials were in attendance.
Maybe that answers the question?
 
#12
Junior V-O-G is currently at the Defence Language College at Beaconsfield in accommodation which I could only describe as 'bloody awful'. Buildings covered in scaffolding, internal fittings worn out and an empty multi-storey (10/12 floor) 1960's tower block in danger of falling on the main block and messes. A sharp wind at 23.59 hours tomorrow could do the MOD a favour by bringing down the tower without casualties and allowing the site to be rebuilt by Travelodge. In fact being so close to the M4 and London it would make an ideal site for a hotel, gym, conference centre AND a MOD language facility. Maybe someone on ARRSE with some 'pull' could put a deal together. Is'nt one of the top dogs in MOD Property an ex RRF officer?
 
#13
4 Mech Bde are moving from Osnatraz to Catterick in Jun-Jul 08.
I have heard that there are not even enough MQs to accomodate them so they are having to rent private accomodation that will cost 1000 pounds a month per house with some people having to live nearly an hour away.

the single soldiers moving from decent accomadtion in Os to crap in Catterick.

One regiment even have to share a camp with another.

False economy or what ?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#14
Nothing new and no surprise really, thanks for highlighting this. If any journos or politicians reading this would now like to ask the right questions get on with it!
 
#15
V-O-G. I've been told the MoD do not own the property. It is on loan for MoD use only.

Hence the grand plan of selling it and moving to south Wales went down in flames. Not sure where the multitude of instructors could be found in Wales either...

You couldn't make it up.

The Wilton 'Hilton' doesn't conform to building regs or something. I've heard it is visable from Windsor Castle and the Boss is not impressed and hasn't been since it went up.

If, IF, this is true I'm sure the problem will have been looked into.

The fact they've been trying to close the school for the last decade or so has not been helpful. No future, no money.
 
#16
armchair_jihad said:
Scabster_Mooch said:
..A traditional 100-bed hotel costs Travelodge around £5 million to build. Construction using shipping containers reduces costs by up to 10 per cent, making the bill for a hotel of the same size around £4.5 million.

Using Verbus Modules also shaves approximately 25% off construction time, meaning a 100-bed hotel can be built in 30 weeks, instead of 40.

The budget hotel chain plans to build approx 40 hotels each year to 2020 - and believe up to half could be constructed using the modular system.
http://www.travelodge.co.uk/press/article.php?id=285


Is there any reason why it will take up to 7 years to sort accomodation out?

Travelodge is saying they can build a 100 bed hotel in under a year and for 5mil.

Is this a case of the military being lousy at negotiating contracts or the govt not providing the funds?
I have looked at this with some business partners in China and we concluded that we could have prefabricated accomodation, mass produced in China to a very high standard, including all fixtures and fittings such as washing machine,etc. have it shipped to the UK (or wherever) at a unit price of £25,000 per unit. Assembly costs would be minimal. Life expectancy of unit designed at 30 + years of robust use. All production overseen by expat Boxhead quaility control . We could easliy have over 20,000 units shipped within two and half years.

In short there is no real supply problem.

The conclusion was from one of my partners who is very experienced in UK property, is that just too many people connected to the decision making process, are making too much money by keeping things as they are.

Sorry Tom, was ever thus.
Hmm...think I spotted the flaw in your plan.....30 + years is jst why too short a life span for MoD, I mean look at cav barracks in Honslouw? Got to be at least 100 years old, now that's a proper return for your money!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#17
I would rather see 20 000 units in place in 3 years and then do the long term rebuilding! Give a lot of breathing space.
 
#18
armchair_jihad said:
Scabster_Mooch said:
..A traditional 100-bed hotel costs Travelodge around £5 million to build. Construction using shipping containers reduces costs by up to 10 per cent, making the bill for a hotel of the same size around £4.5 million.

Using Verbus Modules also shaves approximately 25% off construction time, meaning a 100-bed hotel can be built in 30 weeks, instead of 40.

The budget hotel chain plans to build approx 40 hotels each year to 2020 - and believe up to half could be constructed using the modular system.
http://www.travelodge.co.uk/press/article.php?id=285


Is there any reason why it will take up to 7 years to sort accomodation out?

Travelodge is saying they can build a 100 bed hotel in under a year and for 5mil.

Is this a case of the military being lousy at negotiating contracts or the govt not providing the funds?
I have looked at this with some business partners in China and we concluded that we could have prefabricated accomodation, mass produced in China to a very high standard, including all fixtures and fittings such as washing machine,etc. have it shipped to the UK (or wherever) at a unit price of £25,000 per unit. Assembly costs would be minimal. Life expectancy of unit designed at 30 + years of robust use. All production overseen by expat Boxhead quaility control . We could easliy have over 20,000 units shipped within two and half years.

In short there is no real supply problem.

The conclusion was from one of my partners who is very experienced in UK property, is that just too many people connected to the decision making process, are making too much money by keeping things as they are.

Sorry Tom, was ever thus.
Thought so - esp in an age of pre-fab buildings! Thanks for clarifying.

Still it doesn't make the MoD (or whoever is negotiating these contracts) look very good.

I had a quick Look at the NAO's study into defence housing. The whole scheme seems very complicated and riddled throughout by PFI deals and words like land lease.

As I said, it was a very quick look so I cannot be sure of what is happening.
 
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