FRESH calls have been made to build houses in Carterton after a lack of accommodation forced dozens of Brize Norton families to live outside of West Oxfordshire.

Planning permission was granted in 2003 to build 200 homes for service personnel on the REEMA North and Central sites on Upavon Way, but the land remains undeveloped.

Now the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) department for military housing has revealed more than 150 Brize personnel are currently living in Faringdon or Fairford, Gloucestershire.

According to West Oxfordshire District Council's Local Plan, the 200 homes should have been completed in 2016, but were delayed 'for funding reasons'.

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The district's armed forces champion Norman MacRae, above, who spent many years at Brize and represents Carterton North East ward, says the slow progress is having a knock-on effect.

He said: "The area was flattened with a view to rebuilding straight away, but it's been put back and back.

"Therefore our service families are having to be quartered in Fairford and Faringdon.

"This is putting pressure on the housing market for our young people and increasing the use of our roads.

"We want people to be in in nice houses, we don't want flat land.

"Our service folk are entitled to good housing, so let's give it to them."


The land north of Upavon Way. Picture: Google Maps

More than 800 homes were built on the REEMA sites in the mid-20th century, but many were demolished after the MoD sold more than 55,000 service family homes to Annington Property Limited in 1996.

By February 2011, all those on REEMA North had been knocked down and just 369 of the original 820 remained.

In 2003, the district council granted planning permission to build houses on REEMA North and Central, which expired after ten years.

The district council saw the delay as 'an opportunity to revisit the mix, design and layout of the permitted 200 home scheme with a view to potentially increasing the number of new homes to around 300', according to the Local Plan.

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Part of the REEMA Central site has already been made available to Annington Homes, which is working on a market housing scheme of 135 houses through a planning application, although 54 will be demolished.

Meanwhile, the district council is in 'ongoing discussions' with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which is responsible for military housing, to build the housing for service personnel.

Council leader James Mills said: "We want Carterton to be a fantastic place to live and having a large area that's undeveloped doesn't help it reach maximum potential.

"We need the housing and it's a very sustainable place so it seems crazy not to build there."


A bird's-eye view of the land either side of Upavon Way. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Mills added the council had suggested a financial model where the council itself helps 'bring the site forward financially', which was being discussed by the DIO and the Treasury.

He said: "We want to support our service personnel in our second largest town.

"It's frustrating it hasn't happened yet but we are doing all we can to make the cogs of government work a bit faster."

As of April 2018 there are 3,906 members of the Armed Forces stationed at RAF Brize Norton, but only 969 service family accommodation properties in Carterton.

Service personnel who apply for accommodation at Brize are either housed in Carterton, Faringdon or Fairford.

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In addition to the 152 personnel living in Faringdon or Fairford, a further 165 Brize personnel live in other locations 'at their own request who either commute or live on base and serve unaccompanied', according to a DIO spokesperson.

The spokesperson confirmed the organisation rented private housing 'where there is insufficient military housing available'.

They said: "The relocation of personnel from RAF Lyneham to RAF Brize Norton has meant that we have had to acquire further properties in the areas surrounding Brize Norton."

The spokesperson added: "The MOD have acquired sufficient housing stock to house personnel local to the base and personnel have the right to rent accommodation within 10 miles radius of Brize Norton if no MOD housing stock is available."