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18 January 2016, 19:39
Defence Minister Mark Lancaster has announced the release of 12 MOD sites, as part of the department’s drive for greater efficiency.
The disposal, which will generate £500 million, will provide the land for around 15,000 new homes in support of the government’s ambition to build 160,000 by 2020.
The income generated from the sales will be ploughed back into defence. This follows the announcement in the summer that all MOD savings will be reinvested into a defence budget that will rise every year of this parliament, ensuring that our armed forces have the equipment they need to keep Britain safe.
As part of the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review, the equipment budget was recently increased to £178bn over 10 years.
These sites will form the first tranche of the MOD’s plan to reduce by 30 per cent the size of its built estate. MOD’s estate spans one per cent of all UK land and covers 452,000 hectares.
As part of that plan, the Ministry has committed to generating £1bn through land sales during this parliament and contributing up to 55,000 homes.
The move comes almost exactly a year after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon first set the department the challenge of ‘continuous efficiency’ in a speech at the Institute for Government and follows the announcement in November of £9bn savings in defence.
Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said:
"By streamlining the Defence estate, we will ensure that it better meets the needs of the Armed Forces well into the future. Defence has the strongest incentive to become more efficient; with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defence budget that keeps Britain safe.
We are also making an important contribution of 55,000 homes to the wider government housing targets. Every acre that we can free up will ensure that more people have the opportunity to own their own home."
The 12 sites are:
RAF Molesworth near Thrapston
RAF Alconbury north of Huntingdon
RAF Mildenhall near Cambridge
RAF Barnham in Suffolk
Kneller Hall in Twickenham
Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon
Lodge Hill in Kent
Craigiehall in Edinburgh
HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth
Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire
MOD Felton in London
The MOD will announce further sites in due course, with a full list published in the Footprint Strategy later in 2016.
Responding to a question in the Commons by SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer, she asked: "Could you explain what steps the MoD is taking to release surplus land for housing and could you also explain what progress the MoD has made in selling or renting the fire control centre in Waterbeach?'"
In his reply, Mr Lancaster said: "With regard to your own constituency, I can confirm the whole of the Waterbeach site has now been transferred to our civilian delivery partner."
Matt Hancock, the Mildenhall MP has tweeted: