Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced plans to release a further 13 sites to build thousands of new homes and create a more effective and efficient Defence estate.
More than 1,200 hectares of surplus public sector land is being released across sites which stretch right across the UK. 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 and all of the money generated from land sales will be invested back into meeting the needs of the Armed Forces.
The land will include 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. The announcement – which is the third tranche of sites to be released – means the MOD has now freed up enough brownfield and surplus public sector land for up to 39,000 new homes, expected to generate around £930 million.
The news also comes as Network Rail 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.
The optimisation strategy aims to reduce the size of the MOD estate which totals just under half a million hectares by selling off sites for which there is no longer a long-term Defence requirement. This will reduce unnecessary estate running costs for Defence and result in a smaller, but better, Defence estate which caters for the future Armed Forces and delivers upon the commitments made in Strategic Defence & Security Review 2015 (SDSR15). The MOD expects to make further announcements as part of the strategy later in 2016.
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.”