LONGTOWN will be the base for a huge, new Ministry of Defence (MOD) storage facility, due to be completed in October 2024.
The 75,000 square metre distribution centre will support approximately 150 jobs in Scotland and a further 300 in the North of England.
Estimated to be the size of 12 football pitches, it is being built on a brownfield site within the Longtown estate, replacing the older warehouses that are there.
The majority of them were constructed during World War II and MOD officials say they need modernising to provide the best protection for their assets.
The new building will be key to supporting the armed forces on a variety of operations, according to John Farrow, DE&S director Logistics and Support Operating Centre, who said: “The new warehouse will provide the UK with additional modern storage facilities that will ensure assets are available more rapidly to meet surges in demand.
“This contract represents a fantastic example of the progress we have made in developing and implementing fit-for-purpose facilities that is helping to accelerate our mission of equipping and supporting our UK armed forces today and tomorrow.”
Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge said: “I am delighted that work is being done at DM Longtown by McLaughlin and Harvey.
“Longtown is a hugely important, strategic facility and contributes much to the operational capability of defence.
“This work also highlights the number of people at the facility who work cross-border and that defence is a pan-UK business, involving contractors from right across the UK, to keep its people and allies safe.”
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack added: “I welcome this multi-million-pound UK Government defence investment and the hundreds of jobs it will support in Scotland and Cumbria.
“This giant facility will help ensure kit used by our armed forces is stored in the best possible condition and can be deployed speedily.
“The Ministry of Defence invests more than £2 billion annually with industry and commerce in Scotland and this project is another great example of how such expenditure is growing the economy and creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country.”
And Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell said: “Situated only a short distance over the border from Gretna, in Cumbria, the Longtown defence site remains a valued employer in the Gretna, Eastriggs and Annan areas of my constituency.
“The £86 million investment is a vote of confidence in the Longtown depot after several decades of declining job numbers and reduction in the breadth of tasks being carried out there, together with the rundown of its now largely mothballed sprawling sister MoD site at Eastriggs.
“The new building is a massive structure and I know that some local people, who regularly pass by the depot on the nearby road, have been watching the progress with interest as it has taken shape through the summer and autumn.
“I’m seeking clarity from the MoD on the long-term employment implications locally stemming from this massive new storage facility and will continue to press them to repurpose as much of the Eastriggs depot as possible to encourage economic growth.
“The fact that the MoD say 450 jobs across both northern England and Scotland will be supported through this Longtown modernisation project again underlines the importance of remaining part of the United Kingdom.”