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Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the longest period is for which a residential or former residential dwelling of his Department in Colchester constituency has remained empty. (195987)

Data is only available for residential properties which are currently empty. Of these, seven properties at Colchester have been vacant for seven years awaiting major modernisation. These seven properties now form part of the Colchester upgrade programme spanning financial years 2009-11.

In 1996, the Ministry of Defence sold most of its Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties in England and Wales to Annington Homes Ltd (AHL), the majority of which were immediately leased back by this Department for defence use. When surplus to defence requirements, properties are handed back to AHL, which is solely responsible for the property until AHL sells the property on the open market. The MOD is not required to maintain records of these properties once they have been handed back to AHL.

Since May 2007, the total number of void SFA properties in Great Britain has taken from 9,162 to 8,761 properties.