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Sale of Public Sector Land

Letter to Rt Hon John Prescott MP dated 14 February 2003 from the Chairman of the Association

I write in support of the representations made to you by Councillor Mrs Cartwright, Leader of East Hampshire District Council in her letter dated 19 December.

This Association represents all the principal councils (County, Unitary and District) in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with the current exception of Southampton. The Local Associations of Parish and Town Councils are also members.

Mrs Cartwright’s letter drew attention to the adverse impact on the Government’s own objectives of the way surplus land is currently released by the public sector. Since that letter we have had your announcement about the Communities Plan, and the potential role of English Partnerships in working on the release of land for housing.

We support East Hampshire’s contention that the system for the release of public sector land can be improved. We note Lord Rooker’s dissatisfaction that public land can be sold for housing in the South East at the moment without adequate provision for key worker and affordable housing.

We do feel there are some good examples to work on where some of our member authorities have developed excellent liaison with the Ministry of Defence. But the good experiences are patchy, and the lessons need to be shared.

We would like to work in partnership with the Government following your statement about the Communities Plan to:

Ž Speed the release of "brown land" for development where it is currently held in the public sector

Ž Ensure that the release of public land meets the objectives in the Communities Plan and contributes towards the development of sustainable communities in our area.

With this in mind we propose that we form a new joint liaison arrangement between Government departments and the local authorities in this area. This mechanism should bring together Ministry of Defence lands and other Government departments/agencies wishing to dispose of land together perhaps with English Partnerships and if you see fit your department or the Government Office for the South East Region.

We look forward to your comments and to some action to improve the current arrangements in line with your Communities Plan announcement.

The local authorities here are prepared to meet your staff or the Government Office to follow through this proposal at any time. Please contact Malcolm Crocker, the Chief Executive of Gosport Borough Council who is currently leading for the Association on this matter (telephone 023 9254 5201 email malcolm.crocker@gosport.gov.uk).






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Last update:  04/08/2008
Author:          Nick Goulder, Director


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