HC Deb 03 April 2000 vol 347 cc353-4W
Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what(a) number and (b) percentage of properties in his charge are empty; and what steps are being taken by his Department to reduce the number of such properties. [116912]

Ms Stuart

The Department occupies administrative property (the civil estate). The Department has no empty properties.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's retained estate comprises surplus or potentially surplus property not transferred to National Health Service trusts, and is managed by NHS Estates. There are about 85 properties that are empty, which is about 17 per cent. of the estate.

All of these sites are in the course of being sold on an accelerating basis. All surplus property is sold as soon as possible after they become vacant, but only when planning consent for alternative use has been obtained from the relevant local planning authority.