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Programme Belvedere

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Programme Belvedere

Old 14th Mar 2009, 11:52
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Programme Belvedere

All good questions,

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 11 Mar 2009 (pt 0005)

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what standard of accommodation is being planned for Joint Helicopter Command under Project Belvedere; what criteria are being used to make the decision; and what the cost would be of upgrading RAF Lyneham to (a) Royal Air Force, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Army accommodation standards; [261906]

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to date of Programme Belvedere; [262055]

(3) what the reasons are for the time taken to announce the outcome of Programme Belvedere; [262056]

(4) what criteria will be used in selecting an airfield for Joint Helicopter Command under Programme Belvedere; [262057]

(5) who in his Department has lead responsibility for Programme Belvedere; [262058]

(6) who in his Department is responsible for ensuring that Programme Belvedere adheres to its timetable; [262059]

(7) how long he expects production of the environmental impact assessment on the airfield to be selected for Joint Helicopter Command under Programme Belvedere to take; [262060]

(8) how long he expects the process of costing the outcome selected by Programme Belvedere to take. [262061]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Belvedere Programme is considering future basing options for the Joint Helicopter Command.

Under the strategic direction of the Defence Operating Board and a three Star military officer (the Senior Responsible Owner), the Belvedere Team Leader has day to day responsibility for the programme timetable.

The range of variables and programme uncertainties has been more complex than originally envisaged, and has inevitably had an impact on the time taken to undertake the work. The criteria against which judgments are made, for both individual airfields and combinations of airfields, include:

operating issues including aircraft numbers, command and control and flying hours; environmental issues including noise,

availability and standard of domestic and technical accommodation;

accessibility for aircraft and vehicle types; aircraft capacity of the airfield;

opportunities for efficiencies and rationalisation;

airfield location—low flying areas, training areas and local communities;

future requirements; and,

affordability and value for money.

The costs of Belvedere since it was reconstituted in June 2007 have been a little under £2 million. In addition, around £2 million has been spent on essential maintenance works at RAF Lyneham to ensure that its existing infrastructure can remain viable if Belvedere concludes that the station should be retained.

No decisions have been taken on the number of bases required, nor therefore, of any accommodation requirements at RAF Lyneham. Any new accommodation would be provided to common joint-Service standards.

11 Mar 2009 : Column 430W
Baseline noise and environmental impact assessments have been made for each of the sites being considered by Programme Belvedere. A full environmental assessment following selection of a particular option would take 11-12 months. The programme would then be delivered through a series of individual projects. Future costs would depend upon the option chosen.

The future of the Belvedere Programme is currently under consideration at senior levels within the Department.
... with no answers!

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Old 14th Mar 2009, 15:48
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and what the cost would be of upgrading RAF Lyneham to ...(c) Army accommodation standards.
Now that's funny - does he mean pull down the buildings, turn off the hot water and throw a couple of 9 x 9's up?
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 16:42
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Got to wait for the current Lyneham occupants to leave first...

What with the delays to Project Catara, oops sorry, 'Future Brize'

Wouldn't rush to put my name down for quarters at Lye yet as there aren't enough at Brize for all those who have to move in 2012,13,14......
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 17:41
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Some good questions, but as expected, not really answered. Our Lords and Masters obviously have absolutely no idea how much damage to morale and families that this prolonged, grey and murky, rumour driven Project Belvedere is causing.

Wives and Husbands of serving personnel cannot get employment as potential local employers/businesses believe that the spouse will soon be moved because they have heard that everyone is going to Lyneham. Others who attempt to keep their children out of the Boarding School system suddenly find that the search for a suitable state school to deliver stability is now in flux as they may be moving.

Senior Officers that brief that Odiham will not be moving 100% are then made to look like they are telling porkies or absolutely out of touch of what is really going on as the next day rumour leaks out about another aspect of Belvedere impacting the future of Odiham.

How many years does it take to conduct a study and make a command decision? If the factors, constraints and all of the other study variables are that dynamic then stop and wait for stability and allow the dust to settle rather than knee jerking and presenting the charade of 'cost savings with capability enhancements' because it just doesn't wash anymore - and I challenge any JHC staff officer or Treasury bean counter to genuinely make all of this work and activity 'cost neutral' and I further challenge to see no decrease in capability.

Whatever is going on in the JHC they had better start to either make a decision and/or think very seriously about the way this whole debacle is communicated as it is screwing service families over as they strive for stability in a very unstable world, both at home and on operations. Just another push factor that will drive service families away

At least the Fisheads are now getting a bit of the Joint unsettling action of Belvedere - Army with Dishforth to Wattisham, RAF with Benson and Odiham to Lyneham, and now the latest (old) rumour for the Junglies going down to Culdrose. Now they too can jump aboard the roller coaster of Belvedere as their many comfortable years in Somerset conceivably come to an end....if the rumour is true that is

Last edited by MaroonMan4; 14th Mar 2009 at 18:16.
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 18:16
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Simple maths, or delaying tactics?

If the review states that everyone stays where they are, then it will cost £XXXM to update the infra etc etc.

If the review states that everyone goes to Lyn it will cost £XXXM to update the infra etc etc.

However, if the review continues then it costs nothing, zip, nada, niet..............
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 19:13
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Belvedere is dead. Odiham and Benson are staying, Flynx is going to Yeovilton.
It would take at least 20 years for financial costs to be re-couped, do nothing now it will be someone elses problem then.
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 20:07
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now the latest (old) rumour for the Junglies going down to Culdrose.
With both Yeovilton and Culdrose claiming to be the biggest helo bases in Europe I wouldn't have thought the Junglies need to move anywhere.

Anyway which is right - Yeovilton or Culdrose?
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 20:22
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RAF with Benson and Odiham to Lyneham, and now the latest
Don't think there will be space for that!!

No room now in the messes, blocks or patches. Most people at Lye will have to stay in accmn there as Brize will not have enough.

No school spaces in the Brize area - Lye and Hilmarton schools stay full with Brize (Lye) children.

What a complete up!

Leave it as it is!
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 20:34
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Now lets have a look at the track record of JHC 'project managing' change - ask anyone from 9 Regt or 3 Regt if they saw any JHC directive or orders or discussion on the 'hubbing' of AH at Wattisham?

No I didn't think so....but it was all worth it, saved significant amounts of money and added so much value to the delivery of the Corps capability.....or answer 'b'

As to the Junglies, why move them so far far away from SPTA and the rest of the SH/JHF? Wouldn't it make more sense to move the grey Lynx nearer the sea and all those nice boats that float by to do their training with (why did they move to Yeovilton and not Culdrose in the first place when they were forced to move from Portland??).

Aaaah, so I see this has actually nothing to do with capability but money. Someone in MoD can see a knighthood to have a spreadsheet that shows xx million saved by 'hubbing Flynx, and another xx million for 'hubbing' Sea King, with Wallop to close when FLynx comes in for a true AH hub at Wattishame.

On that premis, then shouldn't the RAF Merlins go to Culdrose to establish a Merlin hub?

I agree with MM4, this is all divisive and is so negative across all 3 services and not one Commander in JHC has issued any dictat to confirm or deny the current situation with regard to future base locations (thereby stopping the rumour mill instantly!)- it takes an MP to raise in Parliament, with the subsequent weak and incomplete answer certainly not convincing those of us in the military.
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 20:53
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Door Slider is right on the mark. FLynx to Yeovilton; plenty of room South side, but accommodation may be the only show stopper. Benson and Odiham to remain in situ. Try and divert some money to update facilities at the later but do not hold much hope. Wattisham will remain as it is.

Would not be surprised if you saw Wallop and Shawbury merge in the near future as well..........
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 09:19
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Whilst I don't wish to drag the thread too far from the topic but the whole thing hinges on Project Catara which we all know is a rubbish idea.

So what's the current status and rumour with Catara? If Catara gets binned then does Belvedere get binned too or do JHC just start looking for another new home?
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 09:50
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It’s got nothing to do with Catara. Clearly if Catara does not happen then Belvedere cannot but that’s irrelevant as Benson and Odiham are staying as they are now with Flynx going to Yeovilton, the announcement is just round the corner.
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 12:24
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As with all projects that are going down the tubes, change the name......and everyone will forget all the c*&K ups and start again.

Nim 2000
Leaning - Streamline
etc, etc, etc
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 14:05
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I know what we could do, the grey helicopters could move to bases near the sea areas and Naval Dockyards, we could buy the sail training centre at Portland. That should make a good helicopter base, also a dedicated FAA airfield near Portsmouth, how about Lee on Solent that would be a good place.....
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Old 15th Mar 2009, 20:36
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And then we could move the RAF to bases close to Wales and Scotland away form all the Controlled Airspace..Let's see, Brawdy, Chivenor, St Mawgan, Machrahanish....etc.
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