The first of eight major surplus public
sector sites identified in the recent Housing Green paper, to be
brought forward in support of housing growth targets was named
today as the former Connaught Barracks in Dover. The landmark
site has been acquired by national regeneration agency English
Partnerships to deliver around 500 much-needed homes in the town
of which 40% are affordable.
Acquisition and development of Connaught Barracks – most recently the home of the Parachute Regiment – is expected to inform decisions on similar publicly owned sites in meeting Government targets for 3 million new homes across England by 2020.
David Edwards, English Partnerships’ Director for Southern England, said: “This is an historic day for an historic site. Our acquisition of Connaught Barracks presents a golden opportunity to develop a sustainable community and demonstrate to the rest of the country just how much can be achieved with surplus public sector land."
“Our approach at Connaught is evidence of the expertise English Partnerships will bring to the Homes and Communities Agency. This is the first step along a road leading to 3 million new homes across England by 2020.”
Housing Minster Yvette Cooper said: “We need to build more houses for the next generation, and we’ve made clear that brownfield sites are the priority for this."
“This is why we’ve been working with English Partnerships and other Government Departments to identify surplus sites. I am delighted that the first of these major sites has been acquired to provide much needed homes in the region.”
Located to the north of Dover town centre and adjacent to Dover Castle, Connaught Barracks covers an area of 56 hectares, of which 12.5 hectares is suitable for the development of new homes. The remaining land includes large areas of open space and an English Heritage Scheduled Ancient Monument consisting of Fort Burgoyne and the Eastern and Western Caponiers.
The barracks site was declared surplus to requirements by the Ministry of Defence and put on the Register of Surplus Sector Land in November 2006.
Specific plans for the site will be drawn up following an extensive public consultation programme, alongside English Partnerships’ insistence that all new homes meet the highest design and environmental standards and that the development as a whole will meet the Government’s ambitions set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes.
The history of Connaught Barracks dates back to 1861, when the first defences at Fort Burgoyne were built. Fort Burgoyne, originally known as Castle Hill Fort, was built on high ground to the north of Dover Castle between 1861 and 1868 to protect the castle from attack by artillery. The fort is of polygonal design and is surrounded by a 35 foot wide ditch and flanked by two redoubts, the Eastern and Western Caponiers, which are connected to the fort by ditches.
The site has been vacant since April 2006 when the 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment relocated to Wales, ending the 1,000 year history of Dover being a garrison town.