The British Army Land Forces Headquarters (HQ Land) officially opened a new complex at Marlborough Lines in Andover, Hampshire, UK in July 2010. The new Land Forces HQ became fully operational in September 2010. It was declared operational by the Minister for Armed Forces Nick Harvey and the Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces (CINCLAND) Gen. Sir Peter Wall.
The military command, Headquarters Land Forces (HQLF) is part of the structure of the British Army. The HQLF was formed with the amalgamation of the Land Command and the HQ Adjutant-General elements in April 2008.
The base will house more than 2,000 military and civilian personnel moved from Wiltshire and Salisbury Plain. The HQLF controls all the troops of the British Army across the world. It is responsible for providing equipment including tanks, attack helicopters and infantry vehicles.
The headquarters of the British Army was moved from Erskine Barracks in Wilton near Salisbury, in Wiltshire. The Land Forces were moved to Andover between May and July 2010. The British Army headquarters movement was accomplished through a programme called Project Hyperion.
The merging of the two headquarters will enable the British army to improve internal communications and conduct support military operations efficiently. According to the MoD, it was a cost-effective move to improve military ability of the HQLF.
The new base is expected to provide long-term benefits to the Andover town.
British Army Land Forces HQ history
In 1968 the British Army headquarters was formed as Army Strategic Command in Fugglestone, Wiltshire; renamed UK Land Forces in 1972 and Land Command in 1995. Land Command controlled most of the British Army combat and support troops from April 1995 to April 2008. This command, however, excluded three forces – Northern Ireland, British Forces Cyprus and the Falkland Islands.
In 2004 a comprehensive spending review was made to increase the effectiveness and reduce unnecessary costs associated with the high-level headquarters across the three British Armed Forces. The complex defence programme, Project Hyperion, was a result of the spending review.
Project Hyperion was designed for integration of the main army HQs – Headquarters Adjutant General at Upavon, Andover and Headquarters Land Command at Wilton. The programme intends to integrate the Ministry of Defence (MoD) top level budget (TLB) and locate personnel into a unified headquarters site. The HQLF replaced the HQ Land Command in 2008.
Design and construction
The former RAF Andover site was earlier occupied by the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation.
The site was chosen as the best option for the new HQ after thorough analysis.
The Andover base was refurbished as the site in Wilton was considered insufficient for the needs of the army.
Wilton had been in use since World War II and had several modular buildings and other infrastructure providing little space for expansion.
The camp was also unsuitable for communications due to a railway line division.
The new complex was built at a cost of £44m, which is expected to be recovered within eight years. It will be achieved through the sale of the Wilton site by Army Defence Estates and deployment of efficiency strategies.
In April 2010, the former RAF Andover site was renamed Marlborough Lines in the honour of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. The two principal office facilities are named Blenheim and Ramillies, honouring the victories in the War of Spanish Succession. The garden at Blenheim is named Churchill Garden.
The Andover HQ will reduce both operational costs and environmental concerns. The office buildings were refurbished to provide an open plan working environment. The design eases communications and allows the HQ to be more effective and responsive to circumstances.
A new single living facility has been built to accommodate soldiers and officers. The new British Army headquarters complex has a gymnasium and fitness suite at the rebuilt DE&S technical building. It also has shops, cafés and landscaped gardens.
Other facilities in Andover include petrol stations, supermarkets, banks, a theatre, a post office and schools. The Andover leisure centre has a fitness suite, swimming pool, clubs, Museum of the Iron Age and The Lights – a professional arts and entertainment venue.