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Colchester Garrison

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements he has made for security and management matters at the Colchester Garrison resulting from the disposal for civilian occupation of dwellings previously occupied by Service families; and if he will make a statement. [119771]

There are regular routine patrols by Military and Ministry of Defence police. However, the properties in Colchester that are included in the disposals programme are not 'on camp' but are a mile or so from the unit and near a main road and there have never been any access restrictions. Vigilance is maintained, where properties are unoccupied, in order to discourage vandalism, and no serious problems have been reported.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 9 June 2003, Official Report, column 649W, on Colchester Garrison, (1) how many of the four-bedroomed services family houses are to be disposed of; how many other dwellings are to be disposed of; when this will occur; and what the arrangements are for the disposal; [119902](2) if he will offer the empty service family houses at Colchester Garrison to Colchester borough council. [119901]

40 Service family houses in Colchester are being disposed of in March 2004, of which 24 are four-bedroomed and 16 three-bedroomed. These properties have been selected for disposal because they are of lesser quality than other properties in the area and are in an estate which is not popular with Service families.The Ministry of Defence will hand the surplus properties back to their owner, Annington Homes Limited (AHL) in accordance with the sales agreement of November 1996, when AHL purchased most of the Service family housing in England and Wales. AHL will decide whether to retain or sell them, and the MOD has no influence over this decision. The local authority may wish to negotiate with AHL over the lease or purchase of the properties.