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Defence ministry gives 59 service homes in Belfast to Executive

The Ministry of Defence is to gift up to 59 service family accommodation properties in the Greater Belfast area to the Executive.

The properties were used for housing soldiers and their relatives during the conflict when there was a much larger security presence in Northern Ireland. The handover forms part of the previous Government's commitments to help build a prosperous and united community.

It is intended that legalities will be completed by late spring 2016, with the disposal value of the sites estimated at £3.5 million as at April 2014, a MoD written statement to Parliament said.

Defence under-secretary Mark Lancaster said: "This gift forms part of coalition Government's financial settlement with the Executive and the commitments set out in Building a Prosperous and United Community: One Year On, in which the Government and the Executive set out plans to work together to build on political stability.

He added: " Her Majesty's Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If after 14 sitting days, no objections to the gift have been received, the transfer will proceed."

Another 605 units of surplus service family accommodation that cannot be gifted for security and training reasons inside the perimeters of bases at Aldergrove, Ballykinler and Holywood, costing a total of £3.6 million, will be demolished.

Mr Lancaster added: "Enabling works have begun and demolitions will start in late 2016, with the land then being retained for training.

"The Ministry of Defence will continue to look for surplus properties to gift as part of the shared commitment of the Government and the Executive to take forward plans to build a shared future."

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