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Michael Fallon accused of dragging heels over Army base golf course sale

By Richard Wheeler

Published 15/01/2016

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has been accused of acting slowly in selling off his department's golf course at a disused Army barracks in Co Down.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says 11 courses, one pitch and putt centre and a driving range, operate on its land across the UK - two fewer than in 2015. It noted Abercorn Barracks course in Ballykinler, Co Down, is no longer used and could be sold.

In January 2015, Mr Fallon used a speech to question if the MoD "really needs to own 15 golf courses". The details on the golf courses emerged following a written parliamentary question from Labour frontbencher Andrew Gwynne.

"You have to wonder why Michael Fallon has been so slow to sell his ministry's golf courses, with these figures coming only months after he announced more than 10,000 redundancies," he said.

"Only a year ago he openly admitted his department didn't need to own them, and suggested they would be the first assets to go."

Mr Lancaster, in response to Mr Gwynne's written question, said that as part of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's work to rationalise the defence estate, the course at Ballykinler is being examined for potential disposal.

In a statement, an MoD spokesman said: "The Defence Secretary has previously outlined plans to deliver the best possible value from the MoD's property portfolio.

"This process continues through the department's estate footprint strategy which will see the release of surplus land, potentially including further golf courses."

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