Rows block MoD property sell-offs

20 May 99
The Ministry of Defence suffers unnecessary problems disposing of redundant land and buildings because the government has not made the abolition of Crown immunity a top priority, according to research from the University of Reading.

21 May 1999

The report claimed the government is causing 'avoidable conflict' between the MoD and planning authorities because the issue of Crown immunity has not been resolved. 'It creates complications for the MoD in establishing what existing use rights it has when it wishes to dispose of land or buildings', the report said.

Development of the Redundant Defence Estate was commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the MoD to ensure the government obtains value for money when disposing of redundant estate.

The DETR is keen to push the issue of regeneration. Planning minister Richard Caborn said: 'The report identifies a number of areas where improvements could be made, particularly in relation to planning and regeneration.' A group has been set up to look at the issues and will introduce improvements by the end of the year, he added.

The researchers concluded that the Treasury guidelines on disposal were satisfactory, despite the fact that few within the MoD understood or used them correctly. MoD officials must make the guidelines more readily available, the report suggested, stating: 'An absence of sufficient familiarity of the guidelines has led to a degree of misunderstanding between the principal parties and a tendency for antagonistic situations to develop.'

An MoD official said: 'The conclusions in the report are generally supportive of the approach adopted by the MoD.'


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