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Service Accommodation (Colchester)

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the average price paid by Annington Homes for each dwelling at Colchester Garrison was; [124936](2) how many dwellings at Colchester Garrison were purchased by Annington Homes; [124935](3) how many former Ministry of Defence dwellings at Colchester Garrison have been sold by Annington Homes; how many more are proposed to be disposed of; and if he will make a statement. [124934]

The sale, in 1996, of 57,428 properties in England and Wales raised £1.662 million for the Exchequer. The average price per dwelling, nationally, was approximately £29,000, and in the Colchester area, approximately £25,000.Some 1,400 properties in the Colchester area were included in the 1996 sale and leaseback agreement with Annington Homes Ltd. Of these, all but 46, which were surplus to requirements at the time, were leased back by the Ministry of Defence to house Service families. 180 properties have subsequently been handed back to Annington Homes Ltd. and it is intended that a further 40 will be handed back during the current financial year. MOD wishes to reduce vacancy levels in Service family accommodation and significant disposals are needed to progress towards the target of reducing the vacancy rate to 10 per cent. of working stock. The Defence Housing Executive (DHE), the MOD agency that manages the properties, decides which properties to return to the owners (Annington Homes Ltd.) in consultation with unit commanders. The subsequent use or disposal of those properties is a matter for Annington Homes.