The Ministry of Defence has announced plans to sell off 13 military sites to raise £225 million and provide land for up to 17,000 homes.
Among facilities to be sold is the historic Plymouth headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines at Stonehouse (see picture below).
Defence sources said that the Marines had "outgrown" the buildings, which date back to the 18th century and have long been associated with the commando force.
The brigade is to be relocated to a new home with facilities suited to their modern requirements.
Top left: Royal Marine barracks, Stonehouse (picture: Derek Harper); Top right: Chalgrove Airfield (picture: Shaun Ferguson); Bottom left: Prince William of Gloucester barracks (picture: Andrew Tatlow); Bottom right: Parsons Barracks (picture: Richard Law)
The sales form part of a programme of defence estate sales announced in last year's defence spending review, which are expected to deliver a total of £1 billion in revenue while creating space for 55,000 homes, including some in areas of high demand.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
"We are getting rid of land that we don’t need to build homes that we do, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in the process. Our commitment to protect and increase the budget for our Armed Forces means that every penny of that will be reinvested into defence, helping to keep Britain safe."
In a written statement to the House of Commons, Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said consultations will take place over the coming weeks with "stakeholders" including trade unions, to determine the future of each site and their occupants. He said:
"I acknowledge that these moves will have an impact upon civilian and military staff... The department is making arrangements to provide for units and functions based at sites which will not have a future defence requirement. I will make a further announcement setting out the Estate Optimisation Strategy with details on the sequencing and timing of these moves later this year."
Mr Lancaster added:
"The release of land by the MoD has the potential to provide land for new homes and we will continue to engage with impacted local authorities to determine how the department's assessment of housing unit allocation against each site may be considered as part of the authority's local plan."
Also up for sale is the site of the Royal Military Police HQ and Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park, in Fareham, Hampshire.
Other facilities being sold off are RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire; Chalgrove airfield in Oxfordshire (see picture); Colerne airfield and the Azimghur barracks near Chippenham, Wiltshire; the Prince William of Gloucester barracks in Grantham (see picture); the Venning and Parsons barracks in Telford (see picture); Middlewick ranges near Colchester; Amport House in Andover, Hampshire; and land at Old Dalby in Leicestershire and Harley Hill in North Yorkshire.
Cover image: Henlow Camp and RAF Henlow from the air (Thomas Nugent)