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Defence

DIO and British Army open Buller Conference Centre at Aldershot Garrison

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) through the Defence Estate Optimisation (DEO) Army Programme, has converted a disused Junior Ranks bar at St Omer Barracks in Aldershot into a modern conference centre.

Above: The Buller Conference Centre.
Courtesy Richard King (Aspire Defence)

This is part of the Army’s ongoing effort to deliver fit-for-purpose infrastructure for Service personnel. 
 
The new Buller Conference Centre offers an upgraded modernised space for conferences, meetings and training sessions. The venue will enable effective collaboration, support interactive workshops and facilitate learning development. 
 
The conversion project was proposed under Future Soldier, delivered by the DIO, and funded by the Army.  DIO awarded the contract to Aspire Defence, with D Square has also making a significant contribution in delivering a more efficient Defence estate.  Repurposing the underused asset rather than building an extension on existing infrastructure, has saved over £1M with a further estimated £1 million to be recovered in future running costs. 

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Barry Ray, DIO Programme Delivery Lead, said: “I am thrilled to see the completion of the Buller Conference Centre and the successful reutilisation of the former Junior Ranks bar.  This facility is a great asset for Staff and Service personnel to work, learn and collaborate in a modern working space, whilst reflecting the local history by being named in honour of Buller Barracks.”

“The quality, speed of delivery and value for money of this facility is a testament to the ongoing collaborative relations between the Army, DIO and Aspire, and the great people we have working with us on this project to whom I offer my thanks.”

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Major General Richard Clements CBE, Director of Basing & Infrastructure, said: “This refurbished facility is a great example of how ongoing investment across the Army estate is improving the environments where our people live, work and train, while delivering value for money for Defence.”
 
“The upgraded facilities will provide personnel at Aldershot Garrison with a great place to network, collaborate and learn. Thank you to everyone involved in the delivery of this impressive project.”  


 
Allan Thompson, Chief Executive, Aspire Defence Limited, said:  “The successful conversion stands as a testament to the excellent collaboration between DIO, the Army, Aspire Defence and our key subcontractors.”

“Rather than mothballing this building it is now a much improved and useful asset to the Army and Aldershot Garrison, providing a fit for purpose facility and adding to its long and proud history.”  
 
“As we continue to build foundations for the Army’s future, I remain extremely proud of our successful record, delivering long term value for the MOD and our close partnership.”  

The new Garrison Conference Centre has been named the ‘Buller Conference and Meeting Centre’ to honour the history of Buller Barracks in Aldershot – an old Training Depot that was closed and handed over to civilian contractors for demolition in 2013. To retain Garrison history, the original metal wording from the front gates of Buller Barracks has been rescued and re-used to form a wall outside the new facility. 
 
An official opening took place on Tuesday 14th May, attended by representatives of the DIO, Army, Aspire Defence, and D Square.

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