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Crichel Down Rules

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 25 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times in each of the last 10 years the Crichel Down rules were applied by the Ministry of Defence; when the last occasion was; and in how many cases in each of the last 10 years MOD land subject to the rules reverted to the original owners. [98853]

Information concerning the number of cases over the last 10 years where land reverted to the original owners is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The most recent case where the rules were found to apply was to agricultural land at Wroughton and the sale to the former owner completed on 27 January 2003.The Ministry of Defence considers the application of the Crichel Down rules for all surplus sites as part of the disposal process. Where it is found that the rules apply, the site is offered back to the former owner at current market value. The land is not offered back to the former owner where, for instance, the use of the land has materially changed or where there are several former owners and a fragmented sale would realise less than a sale of the whole.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will decide on the application of Crichel Down rules with respect to land which previously formed part of Marlborough at Falmouth, Cornwall and is now known as Swanvale OPA, Navy No. 2 site; and if he will make a statement. [98854]

I currently expect that in April the Ministry of Defence will be in a position to write to those parties that have expressed a Former Owner interest, advising them of the application of the Crichel Down rules in this case.Defence Estates, an agency of the Ministry of Defence, are responsible for the disposal of the former Oil Fuel Depot (OFD) at Swanvale, Falmouth. They have instructed consultants, Drivers Jonas, to investigate the application of the Crichel Down rules to OFD Swanvale, and prepare a report. DE anticipate that the final Drivers Jonas report will be received in March, after which it will be necessary to take further legal advice before writing to interested parties.