§ Lord Swinfen
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many of the service quarters at Invicta Park, Maidstone, would be deemed unfit for human habitation if they were local authority houses; and [HL722]
What plans they have to repair and modernise the service quarters at Invicta Park, Maidstone, and to bring them up to a satisfactory standard; and [HL723]
What effect poorly maintained quarters have on the retention of service personnel. [HL724]
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
The Ministry of Defence cannot comment on the standards applied by local authorities. It is accepted that the soldiers' houses in Invicta Park, Maidstone, do not meet modern standards. The department has plans to replace or refurbish the estate. Refurbishment of 20 houses built in the 1950s is due to start in April this year. A project manager has recently been appointed to plan a phased demolition/rebuild programme.
The Government recognise that poor accommodation has a negative effect on the retention of service personnel and that is why we are giving priority to modernising the stock. It is the intention to complete the upgrade programme—that is, to get the bulk of the long-term stock in the UK up to standard 1 for condition—by November 2005.