Today, 6 September 2016, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced the intent to release 13 sites as part of its strategy to create a more effective and efficient Defence estate.
Land at the 13 sites covers more than 1200 hectares and is expected to provide space for up to 17,000 new homes. This will help to contribute to the government’s target of providing 160,000 by 2020 – with every penny generated invested back into a Defence budget that is rising, ensuring that the needs of the future Armed Forces can be met.
Today’s announcement follows those made in January and March and means MOD has released land for up to 39,000 homes, expected to generate around £930 million. It is part of the department’s strategy to reduce the size of its estate by 30% by 2040, resulting in a smaller, but better Defence estate to cater for the future Armed Forces, and delivers upon the commitments made in Strategic Defence & Security Review 2015 (SDSR15).
MOD’s estate currently spans 1% of all UK land and covers just under half a million hectares. The Estate Optimisation Strategy, formerly the Footprint Strategy, is being implemented by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. It will reduce the size of the MOD estate through the sale of sites for which there is no longer a long-term Defence requirement and allowing the co-location of similar functions. This will not only reduce unnecessary estate running costs for Defence, but also free up space for up to 55,000 homes for the UK.
Briefings for MOD people at the affected sites will take place at the earliest convenience and will provide further site specific information on the detail of the closures including expected timings where possible, and (where relevant) impact to civilian personnel.
The 13 sites are:
• RAF Henlow (Bedfordshire)
• Middlewick Ranges (Essex)
• Amport House (Andover)
• Land at Harley Hill (Catterick)
• Chalgrove Airfield (Oxford)
• Colerne Airfield (Chippenham)
• Azimghur Barracks (Chippenham)
• Prince William of Gloucester Barracks (Grantham)
• Land at Old Dalby (Melton Mowbray)
• Venning Barracks (Telford)
• Parsons Barracks (Donnington)
• Southwick Park (Fareham)
• RM Stonehouse (Plymouth)
Lodgers and other users of the affected sites will be notified of the plans, and local authorities and communities are also being engaged.
The detailed arrangements to provide for units and functions based at the affected sites are being considered. Firm details on the sequencing and timing of these moves are still to be confirmed and any additional infrastructure requirements to support co-location of units will be taken in to account and programmed.
The trade unions have been notified in accordance with MOD policy and will continue to be engaged with the process going forward.
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 every penny of that will be reinvested into defence, helping to keep Britain safe.”
The MOD expects to make further announcements under the Estate Optimisation Strategy later in 2016