MOD announces 56 more defence sites for sale

Published: 08 Nov 2016

The UK government will sell off another 56 sites owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence by 2040.

This announcement takes the total number of defence sites for sale up to 91 and follows August’s news that 13 MOD sites would be offloaded to the highest bidder.

The sales will free up more than 32,500 acres, enough land to build 55,000 homes. This will go some way to helping the government hit its target of building 160,000 new homes by 2020.

Meanwhile, selling the land is expected to save the taxpayer around £140 million in running costs over the next ten years, rising to nearly £3 billion in total to 2040.

All money raised from the site sales - which include ten surplus airfields and five golf courses - will be invested into improving defence facilities, upgrading training facilities for the Armed Forces and providing more stability for military families.

The majority of sites are in England including parts of Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire - the Army's largest garrison - the Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, near Grantham, and Imphal Barracks in York.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon said: “We have been spending billions maintaining a defence estate that doesn’t meet the needs of our Armed Forces. This plan delivers an estate fit for our forces and their families.”

Back in August, he also 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.”

A statement from the MOD added that the sales will reduce the number of personnel being regularly moved between different bases, and provide greater long-term stability and certainty for the Armed Forces and their families.

It adds that the plan will see sites and bases moved to locations that offer better opportunities for military families by increasing employment prospects for partners and spouses, helping them to settle into communities, buy their own homes and have their children benefit from more stable schooling.

As of April this year, the MOD controlled around two per cent of UK land, owning more than 568,000 acres of land and foreshore in the UK and holding the rights over a further 548,573 acres.

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