Shropshire Barracks To Be Sold Off For New Homes

Plans have been announced to sell two military sites in Shropshire to help provide land for almost 30,000 homes across England.

Among facilities to be sold is Venning and Parsons Barracks at Telford, and the historic Plymouth headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

Defence sources said that the Marines had ``outgrown'' Stonehouse Barracks, close to the city's waterfront and dating back to the 18th century. The Brigade is to be relocated to a new home with facilities suited to their modern requirements.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) intends to sell off 13 sites to raise £225 million.

Network Rail (NR), which owns and operates Britain's railway infrastructure, is finalising plans to sell almost 200 sites for around 12,000 homes.

These include 700 homes at the former Manchester Exchange station, and 800 homes at a site in Chesterton, Cambridge.

An NR spokeswoman said the organisation was not able to provide an overall figure for how much it expects to raise from the process.

The MoD sales form part of a programme of defence estate rationalisation announced in last year's Spending Review and is expected to deliver a total of #1 billion in revenue while creating space for 55,000 homes, including some in areas of high demand.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said consultations will take place over the coming weeks with ``stakeholders'' including trade unions, to determine the future of each site and their occupants.

Mr Lancaster added: ``The release of land by the MoD has the potential to provide land for new homes and we will continue to engage with impacted local authorities to determine how the department's assessment of housing unit allocation against each site may be considered as part of the authority's local plan.''

Also up for sale is the site of the Royal Military Police HQ and Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park, in Fareham, Hampshire.

Other facilities being sold off are RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire; Chalgrove airfield in Oxfordshire; Colerne airfield and the Azimghur barracks near Chippenham, Wiltshire; the Prince William of Gloucester barracks in Grantham; the Venning and Parsons barracks in Telford; Middlewick ranges near Colchester; Amport House in Andover, Hampshire; and land at Old Dalby in Leicestershire and Harley Hill in North Yorkshire.

NR anticipates that land for around 5,000 homes will be delivered in London, 3,600 in Manchester and the north of England, 1,700 in the Midlands and east of England, and 1,400 in the south.

The company's managing director for property, David Biggs, said: ``Network Rail has been unlocking land for development for over a decade, providing space for thousands of homes, while generating income to reinvest back into the railway.

``The railway stands as a backbone of the UK economy. Unlocking railway land for redevelopment, investing in stations and infrastructure, can and does transform large swathes of our towns and cities and boost local and regional economies.''

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