Housing developers snap up Bath’s former MoD sites

April 10, 2013

Three major former Ministry of Defence sites around Bath have been sold for development in a move that could eventually lead to the construction of more than 1,000 homes.

The land at Foxhill, Warminster Road and Ensleigh was put up for sale by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) – the MoD’s property and services provider responsible for managing the military estate – after becoming surplus to defence requirements.

Most of the several thousand employees have been transferred to other sites, mainly the MoD’s huge base at Abbey Wood, Bristol.

The 19.2 ha Foxhill site has been bought by Curo, one of the region’s largest social landlords with more than 12,000 homes across the Bath and Bristol area.

Foxhill has the potential for up to 700 homes – nearly half the number Curo is due to complete by 2016 across the region.

The Warminster Road site has been bought by London-based Square Bay in a joint venture with Bristol-based Firmstone Developments. The 6.85 ha site has the potential for around 100 homes, subject to planning. Square Bay specialises in residential and mixed-use development while Firmstone says it is “dedicated to building stylish and individual homes which do not compromise on quality, yet remain affordable”.

Ensleigh has been sold to a subsidiary of IM Properties, one of the UK’s largest privately-owned property companies with assets worth more than £550m in the UK, mainland Europe and the US.  IM plans to remediate and redevelop the 8.75 ha site for approximately 250 homes.

Property adviser GVA handled the sale of sites, along with a former barracks in South Wiltshire, on behalf of the DIO.

GVA land and development director Gordon Isgrove said: “The redevelopment of the sites as mixed use schemes, led by housing, are an important element for both local authorities to meet their housing numbers.

“Development opportunities particularly in Bath have always been restricted, and the potential capacity and quality of these new sites is unprecedented. Demand for housing in Bath is very strong due to the limited amount of new development in the last few decades.”

DIO head of disposals South Martin Lloyd added: “The MoD keeps the size and location of its assets under constant review. The sale of these sites is a good example of how, by working with industry partners, we can ensure land that is surplus to military requirements is put to good use while providing value for money for the taxpayer.”


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