KINLOSS BARRACKS IS NOT on a list of Ministry of Defence (MoD) properties set for closure and sale, a written statement to the UK Parliament has revealed today.
Fears over the future of the Moray base have existed since local MP Angus Robertson revealed that secret talks had taken place between representatives of MoD and Moray Council officials.
The talks centred around the possibility of Kinloss Barracks being part of the Defence Estates rationalisation process, which is studying MoD sites around the UK with a view to selling surplus land.
It was revealed last month that the next list of MoD properties being considered for this sale would be revealed in September – it was feared that Kinloss would be on that list.
However, in the event NO Scottish bases are listed with the statement from Mark Lancaster, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State saying: “The Ministry of Defence is nearing the completion of an ambitious Estate Optimisation Strategy programme which will provide a plan for a smaller, but significantly better Defence Estate to meet the needs of the Armed Forces.
“The MoD expects to announce the finalised Estate Optimisation Strategy later this year and can today confirm the expected release of 13 sites. These will contribute some £225 million toward the MoD’s £1billion target for land release sales as set out in Spending Review 2015.”
The statement adds that the selected sites will contribute to the UK Government commitment to provide land for 160,000 homes in the life of the current Parliament.
It adds: “The intent to dispose of these 13 sites will provide land for up to 17,017 homes (of which some 12,565 are expected to materialise in this Parliament). In addition to the sites announced in January and March of this year, this represents the expected provision of land for up to 14,700 homes this Parliament against the MoD target of 55,000.
“The remainder of the target will be met through other rationalisation activity including the Reserves estate, the Training estate and MoD accommodation.”
Editor Comments – Kinloss Suitability
Throughout the debate over the future of Kinloss Barracks, insideMoray – and only insideMoray – has repeatedly raised the unsuitability of Kinloss Barracks under the terms of the Defence Estates rationalisation process intentions.
Our comments that the land at Kinloss was neither suitable for the purposes of the review nor, indeed, required for house building have gone unheeded by politicians and other media sources.
It may well be the case that the MoD either now or at some point in the future have alternative plans for Kinloss Barracks – however, what has been clear from previous MoD statements during the month-long debate is that it was extremely unlikely that the Moray land could or would be sold as part of the exercise.
While plans for Kinloss have been linked with a threatened withdrawal of the Army from Fort George, insideMoray believes that they are not connected. It may be that some politicians will lay claim to a ‘victory’ in saving Kinloss Barracks – but this commentator and many more in Moray will question if there ever was a threat in the first place.
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