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Departmental Empty Property

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many properties owned by his Department had been unused for between one and five years in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK on the latest date for which figures are available. (310650)

Details of all properties of all types on the Ministry of Defence (MOD) estate that are unused and the length of time each has been so is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Further to my answer of 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 828W, we have been able to assemble some details of void living accommodation. The following table details Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the UK that has been unused for between one and five years. It has not been possible separately to identify SFA in England. The majority of these properties are owned by Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) and are leased to the Department.

Number of SFA properties void between one and five years as at 12 January 2010

Number

England and Wales

1,784

Scotland

173

UK total (including NI)

2,077

SFA properties that have been void for the longest periods are those that are mainly held awaiting large future redeployments of personnel, pending return to AHL or awaiting demolition, or where decisions on the future of MOD sites have yet to be made. SFA may also be void where there is likely to be a long-term (rather than short-term) need for SFA in that area or where major modernisation or upgrade work is to be carried out.

In those areas where void SFA is required in the long-term but not in the short to medium-term, the Department is actively seeking arrangements with local authorities, housing associations and private landlords to temporarily sub let properties.

In 2008 the proportion of void SFA reached 21 per cent. Although extremely challenging, the MOD is driving hard to reduce the percentage of voids to the target management margin of 10 per cent. by 2012.