Council accuses MoD over former army homes left vandalised and empty

Empty homes in Sobraon Way at Howe Barracks

Canterbury City Council has accused the Ministry of Defence of  “utterly negligent behaviour” over homes left empty and prone to vandalism on the former Howe Barracks site.

It says the 33 properties in Sobraon Way would be perfect for families and thereby help it reduce its housing waiting list.

Instead they have fallen into disrepair and been damaged by vandals.

The houses are owned by property company Annington but have been leased to the MoD, which no longer has a use for them.

But the city council says the homes have remained empty and accuses the MoD of showing ” no interest in bringing them back into a habitable condition”.

Cllr Simon Cook

It adds that local taxpayers will have to pay for the repair bills in the hundreds of thousands.

Council Leader Cllr Simon Cook said: “This is utterly negligent behaviour by the Ministry of Defence. They have denied many families a home and our view is that they should be ashamed of what’s happened.

“To be absolutely clear, we have made the running with the MoD from the moment we were aware these properties could be available, in order to try and secure them for local families.

“Hundreds of officer hours have gone into this and we even got as far as starting the procurement process in order to secure a contractor to renovate the homes as quickly as possible should a deal have been done.

“Sadly the MoD has shown total disinterest in negotiating with us and no understanding of how important this issue is to us and our residents.

“Despite our constant chasing, it has been impossible to get them to engage on any serious level.”

The homes are being passed back to Annington and the council says it will continue to pursue negotiations with Annington with a view to making use of them.


  1. What? Like the public garages which have been allowed to fall into disrepair? There seems to be enough money though to employ a Thanet painter and decorator firm…instead of a local Canterbury one…to paint the doors Tory blue. Getting ready to say look at all us Tories do, before an election perhaps?

    Even newish white garage doors. If this was due to graffiti, this angst whitewashing simply gives a very good background for it. Why have these garages been allowed to fall into this state? Why has money been spent painting the doors ? A very long waiting list for public garages has now occurred and we are told these are now starting to be repaired. Yet why were they allowed to fall into this state in the first place?

    The GREEN Team Canterbury has been removing ivy allowed to grow over and into some of these, including damaging the roofing felt. We have seen some garages where grass is growing inside them.

    Recently a friend’s rented public garage door spring broke while he was simply pulling it closed. It took a few days for this to be repaired and he ended up having to remove what was left of the spring in order to just get it clised and not be stuck there or leave his possessions at risk.

    Yet the door is freshly painted Tory Electioneering blue!


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