PICTURED: Giant MoD Donnington buildings take shape
Giant warehouses are starting to take shape in Shropshire – a year after it was first revealed the county had won the contract for a military logistics centre.
These dramatic images were released to mark the first anniversary of the contract being awarded to MoD Donnington in Telford.
Businesses, officials and employees had long waited to hear whether MOD Donnington was to be the home of a huge warehouse built on the site in Telford for storing and distributing non weaponry equipment to soldiers around the world.
Now the two warehouses that will make up the new logistics hub are beginning to take shape, with concrete footings and steel skeletons rising from behind the fences that surround the site off the Hortonwood Industrial Estate.
Councillor Kuldip Sahota, the leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said he was delighted to see progress beginning on the new Defence Fulfilment Centre.
He said: "I've been looking at the aerial photos and the building is now rising from the ground and work has been going on for the last few months.
"We did a lot of campaigning to secure the contract, we had lots of meeting with MOD officials and we were very, very pleased when we got the contract for MOD Donnington."
A ground breaking ceremony was conducted by Philip Dunne in October, which saw the first turf being cut ahead of the construction of the 860,000 sq ft building.
Since the gathered dignitaries and special invited guests trudged away from the muddy field on Hortonwood that day, much has happened.
The bulldozer that chugged into action as soon as the ceremony ended has completed the ground stabilisation works, preparations have been made for the installation of access roads and the new car park, and balancing pools have been excavated.
The dire weather over the winter has not left the project behind schedule, and it remains on track to be completed later this year –the overall project length was timed at 12 months.
Barbara Doornink, programme manager and managing director of Leidos UK which won the contract to run the centre for the MOD, said: "Work at the Defence Fulfilment Centre at Donnington is progressing well and is on track for completion by the end of 2016.
"We look forward to seeing the DFC up and running so that we can start providing the UK military with the commodities they need, when they need them."
The site is split into two buildings – Fulfilment Centre 1 and Fulfilment Centre 2 – and foundations for both are now complete, with the steel frame of the former, larger building now also being hauled into place.
Ms Doornink added: "We believe we are engaged here in a world first – a pioneering partnership approach to delivering better service and reliability for Front Line Commands.
"We are grateful to the MOD for entrusting the contract and the building and running of the Defence Fulfillment Centre to Team Leidos."
"Working together, the companies that make up Team Leidos will deliver better service for our Armed Forces and better value for the UK tax payer.
"We are already identifying areas for investment and improvement, and the DFC represents the first major step change in what can be delivered with modern infrastructure and IT. We look forward to the end of 2016 when we expect the centre to be operational."
Its completion will certainly be a landmark moment for Telford, which was not among the front runners to house the site when negotiations started more than five years ago.
The hub will provide everything from food to clothing for servicemen and women officers both based in the UK and abroadon the front line.
Britain has 21 operations deployed in 19 countries, including the Falklands, and the remaining 470 troops in Afghanistan. All of those will be served with everything from walky-talkies to water canteens by the high-tech new centre in Telford.
At present, it is not known how many jobs will be created by the site, but bosses expect that it will have a positive impact.
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