RAF Homes (Carterton)

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 21st June 2004.

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Photo of David Cameron David Cameron Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 2:30 pm, 21st June 2004

If he will make a statement on progress towards establishing a private finance initiative scheme for the building of RAF homes in Carterton.

Photo of Mr Ivor Caplin Mr Ivor Caplin Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence

This private finance initiative project to provide service families' accommodation for RAF Brize Norton was launched in May 2003. Since then, the project has gone through pre-qualification and short-listing phases. Once final approval is given, the next stage will be to issue the formal invitation to negotiate.

Photo of David Cameron David Cameron Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

Is the Minister aware that his predecessor, Dr. Moonie, said that the RAF homes in Carterton are among the worst in the RAF? Given that the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy wrote to me in June last year saying that the PFI to rebuild the homes was the Defence Housing Executive's "highest priority", will the Minister knock heads together to make sure that that scheme, which should be good for the RAF, good for Carterton and good for west Oxfordshire, goes ahead soon? Will he come to Carterton to see how urgently the rebuilding work needs to be done?

Photo of Mr Ivor Caplin Mr Ivor Caplin Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence

I welcome the hon. Gentleman's support and that of West Oxfordshire district council for replacing Ministry of Defence housing at Carterton. I agree with the comments of my predecessor and I am aware that local people consider the houses an eyesore. There are concerns that some aspects of antisocial behaviour, especially vandalism, are connected to the empty properties. As the Minister responsible for the estate, I understand the wish to replace the houses as quickly as possible. I greatly hope that the project that we have in mind will ensure that replacement housing will be available in mid-2006. Although I cannot undertake to come to Carterton shortly, I undertake to keep the hon. Gentleman informed of progress.

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire

How many more houses will be needed at Carterton to accommodate the aircraft people from RAF Lyneham in my constituency when the Hercules fleet is moved? Is the shoddy, decrepit condition of the housing in Carterton a good reason for reconsidering that move?

Photo of Mr Ivor Caplin Mr Ivor Caplin Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence

We have been through this at some length with the hon. Gentleman. The decision about RAF Lyneham has been made. We had an Adjournment debate in the House on the subject, to which I replied, and there has been much correspondence. I repeat that the decision has been made and I am confident that we will get our housing stock up to the standard that we would all expect.