The sales are expected to contribute £225m toward the MoD’s £1bn target for land release sales as set out in the 2015 spending review. All of the money generated from the land sales will be ploughed back into defence.
More than 1,200 hectares of surplus public sector land is being released. The sites are expected to provide land for up to 17,000 new homes, contributing to the government’s target of building 160,000 new homes by 2020.
The land to be sold includes two golf courses at RAF Henlow and Southwick Park after defence secretary Michael Fallon questioned the need for them during a speech on defence reform, where he confirmed the estate optimisation strategy would aim to reduce the size of the defence estate by 30% over 25 years. This is the third tranche of sites to be released by the MoD and means that it has now freed up enough brownfield and surplus public sector land for up to 39,000 new homes, expected to generate around £930m.
The latest 13 sites to be sold are at:
- RAF Henlow (Bedfordshire)
- Middlewick Ranges (Essex)
- Amport House (Andover)
- Land at Harley Hill (Catterick)
- Chalgrove Airfield (Oxford) Transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency
- Colerne Airfield (Chippenham)
- Azimghur Barracks (Chippenham)
- Prince William of Gloucester Barracks (Grantham)
- Old Dalby (Melton Mowbray)
- Venning Barracks (Telford)
- Parsons Barracks (Donnington)
- Southwick Park (Fareham)
- Royal Marines Stonehouse (Plymouth)
Defence secretary Michael Fallon said: “We are getting rid of land that we don’t need to build homes that we do, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in the process. Our commitment to protect and increase the budget for our armed forces means that every penny of that will be reinvested into defence, helping to keep Britain safe.”
The news comes as Network Rail also announces plans to unlock land for 12,000 new homes by 2020. Almost 200 sites across the country have been identified as offering development opportunities for housing.