U.K. Defence Ministry Starts Sale of Land to Build New Housing

  • Cash raised will be plowed back into Britain's military budget
  • 500 million-pound sale intended to free land for 15,000 homes

Britain’s Ministry of Defence announced the sale of 12 military sites to provide land for about 15,000 new homes and raise money that will be plowed back into defense budget.

The land sales, including sites in London, Edinburgh and Portsmouth, will generate 500 million pounds ($710 million), Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said in a statement Monday. They form the first tranche of a ministry plan to reduce its built-on land by 30 percent. The ministry owns 1 percent of all U.K. land, covering 452,000 hectares (1.1 million acres).

“By streamlining the defense estate, we will ensure that it better meets the needs of the armed forces well into the future,” Lancaster said. “Defense has the strongest incentive to become more efficient; with every pound we make by disposing of excess land reinvested into a defense budget that keeps Britain safe.”

The Ministry of Defence is scheduled to raise 1 billion pounds through land sales by the time of the next election in May 2020, providing land for as many as 55,000 homes. It forms part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to tackle Britain’s housing shortage.

Sites to be sold include Kneller Hall in Twickenham, west London, used by the Royal Military School of Music, Criagiehall in Edinburgh, the army’s headquarters in Scotland, and Royal Air Force sites at Alconbury and Mildenhall in East Anglia.

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