MOD criticised over surplus housing

The MOD announced its decision in September.
The MOD announced its decision in September.

A Cupar councillor has criticised the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for privately leasing its surplus properties.

The MOD announced in September that its surplus properties would be privately let on a short-term basis, meaning the housing could be available for armed forces personnel if more were to be stationed there in the future.

A large number of houses in Leuchars, which are owned by the MOD, are not currently in use, due to the small amount of personnel working at the station.

Councillor Karen Marjoram said its properties in both Leuchars and Cupar would have been better used for social housing.

“There were discussions between Fife Council and the MOD three years ago about the surplus housing in Leuchars and Cupar,” she explained.

“Fife Council asked about taking ownership of the houses but the MOD wanted to keep ownership of them in case extra units were brought here.

“Fife Council noted an interest in leasing the properties for short term accomodation, but we got feedback that they were going to lease them out as private sector rented accommodation through a rental company.

“The housing needs in this area are not for private rents.

“Normal people with normal jobs want affordable housing. They don’t want to be paying high rents.

“The 30 homes in Cupar and 100 in Leuchars would make a difference. It would have been a huge improvement to the waiting list.

“There are people on the waiting list looking for housing. There is a need for housing in north east Fife. People want to move to Cupar but can’t.”

An MOD spokesperson said: “We met with the council to discuss potential use of these properties however the short term nature of the rental period meant that they subsequently declined.”

The MOD also said that the needs of the “service personnel and their families remain paramount throughout this project.”

The spokesman added; “Therefore entitled and eligible service personnel continue to take priority for SFA and should apply for accommodation as they normally would.”

They said 62 properties were currently being sub-let in Leuchars, with the possibility of “further options going forward”.