Crichel Down Rules on land ownership
Rules that apply to the sale of sites previously acquired by government departments and in defence.
The Crichel Down Rules require government departments, under certain circumstances, to offer back surplus land to the former owner or the former owner’s successors at the current market value. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is obliged to consider the potential application of the Crichel Down Rules to all of its surplus sites.
If the rules apply and no exceptions from the rules are applicable to a site then DIO will offer that site (or the relevant parts of it) back to former owners, or their successors, ahead of any offer to the open market, in accordance with the rules.
DIO is currently in the process of reviewing the application of the rules to some sites and will be obliged to complete that process in full for that site before any offers from the open market can be considered.
The publication of a site on this website is not intended to indicate nor serve as any conclusion or view as to the application of the rules to a site.
The latest Crichel Down Rules were published by DCLG on 29 October 2015.
Most major disposals appear online or more detailed information can be obtained from the regional office. We do not produce a publication of all UK sites for sale.
How the DIO sells the MOD surplus land and property
As a government department, DIO works within Treasury guidelines when selling property assets. It is usual policy to sell surplus property on the open market by tender or by auction. DIO may instruct agents to act on its behalf when selling land and property but DIO also sells sites direct. Sites suitable for redevelopment are generally sold with the benefit of planning permission and/or with clawback/overage provisions in order to optimise receipts for the benefit of the taxpayer.
Due to the high interest in surplus property DIO does not provide UK wide or regional lists of properties for sale. For more detailed information on specific surplus properties please contact the appropriate DIO regional office with your request.
The MOD is under an obligation to dispose of property at market value unless there are very exceptional circumstances.
Sale of individual buildings
DIO rarely sells bunkers (sometimes known as uniters). Occasionally the Home Office has such facilities for sale.
Surplus portable buildings are sold by an agency of the MOD - the Disposal Services Authority (DSA).
If you have seen an empty MOD property and would like advice about its availability, please contact the appropriate DIO regional office with details of the property, including its address, description and grid reference if possible. A DIO representative will then investigate if it is MOD property and if applicable check its availability and advise on the method of sale.
Sale of MOD estates
MOD’s policy on estate sizes is that it should be no larger than necessary to meet operational needs of the Armed Forces. To this end, the overall size of the estate is kept under continual review and the rationalisation of land holdings and timely sale of surplus property remains a key priority.
The majority of the MOD’s married quarters (MQs) in England & Wales - now known as service family accommodation - were sold to Annington Property Limited in 1996 and then leased back by the MOD. As properties become surplus to the MOD’s requirements they are surrendered to Annington Homes who in turn, sells or leases them individually to the public.
Occasionally DIO sells residential property in England and Wales directly to the public. Information about the property DIO currently has for sale can be obtained from the appropriate DIO regional office.
The MOD has retained ownership of the residential MQ estate in Scotland and DIO normally sells any surplus MQs directly to the public. For information about the properties DIO currently has for sale please view online or contact the DIO office in Scotland.
Some MQs attracted a legal charge to protect the discount given to service personnel. This has now expired. If purchasers or mortgage lenders specifically want to have the legal charge lifted they should contact the appropriate DIO regional office which can make the necessary arrangements for a fee to cover our legal costs.
Sale of pieces of land
If you believe MOD owns a small piece of land which you are interested in purchasing, contact the appropriate DIO regional office with details of the area of land, including its address, description and grid reference if possible. A DIO representative will then investigate if it is MOD property and check availability and if applicable, advise on the method of sale.
Sale of property overseas
The MOD does not generally own land or property overseas. Any land or property occupied by the MOD is provided by the host country. Upon MOD vacating an overseas site it is handed back to the host country.
All MOD properties for disposal that have been used for a military purpose - ie chemicals or explosive storage - would normally have a Land Quality Assessment (LQA), to assess the level of any contamination. The prospective purchaser would be fully informed prior to the sale.
The standard clawback clause, together with worked examples and guidance notes, is available in Policy Instruction 02/09. It is strongly recommended that prospective purchasers read and understand it.
DIO works closely with the local planning authority whose policies determine the level of need for affordable housing allocated along with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the regeneration agency of the government for England and Wales.
DIO also works closely with the Welsh Development Agency, the Scottish and Northern Ireland structures and/or registered social landlords if they express an interest in a particular site. However, Treasury rules provide that unless there are exceptional circumstances sites must be transferred at market value.
Freedom of Information Act
Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, everyone has the right to access information held by the public sector subject with clearly defined exemptions and conditions. There is a requirement to consider discretionary disclosure in the public interest even when an exemption applies. There is also a duty to publish information.
DIO disposals webpages - terms and conditions of use of documentation
The documents which have been published on the DIO Disposals web pages (‘the website’) are available for public download.
However please note that any save, download, opening, use, review, reliance on or exploitation of the information contained within these documents is subject to the following terms and conditions and your saving, downloading, opening, review or use of these documents is considered to be an acceptance of the following terms and conditions:
Your attention is drawn to the terms and conditions applicable to the MOD website.
The MOD cannot accept any liability for any loss, disruption or damage to your data or your computer system which may occur as a result of the use of this document or the website from which it has been saved, downloaded or opened.
Information contained on the website may change from time to time. Consequently the MOD will not be liable for any damage or loss resulting any inaccuracy in this document or where information accessible through this website changes or has changed.
The MOD is not responsible for the content or reliability of other websites that this website, or electronic documents held on this website may link to, and does not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.
The MOD will use its reasonable endeavours to minimise any downtime of the website but will not be liable for any loss or damage as a result of you or a third party not being able to access the electronic version of a document, the website or the information contained therein or any part of it or them.
The website and the documents published on it are intended to provide general information only for the guidance of prospective purchasers. No part of the website or any document published on it constitutes an offer of sale or services or is intended to create any kind of contract between the MOD and any other party.
Every effort has been taken to ensure that any details and measurements included within documents published on the website, or any particulars listed on the site, are accurate. However it should be noted that any such details and measurements are approximate only and are only a general guide to the property.
Property particulars are produced in accordance with the Property Misdecriptions Act 1991 and should not be construed as a contract or offer. Details shown in any particulars or in this document regarding property details, dimensions, plans, references to condition, service charges, ground rent, permissions for the use and occupation of the premises, photos, distance and other details cannot be guaranteed fully accurate and prospective purchasers must not rely on them as statements of fact or representations and must satisfy themselves as to their accuracy.
All material provided on the website, or contained in documents published on the website, in relation to government information, properties products and services, as well as third party information, properties, products and services is provided ‘as is’, without any representation or endorsement made, and without any warranty of any kind, whether express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for purposes, non-infringement, compatibility, security and accuracy.
The Ministry of Defence is not offering and will not pay any agents or principals a finders fee in relation to the introduction of the premises by any third party and will not pay commission or any other payment whatsoever to the agent of any future buyer.
These terms and conditions shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales; it is their courts that have exclusive jurisdiction over all claims and disputes arising in relation to or out of the website or any document published on it. However information specifically related to properties provided on the website or in this document will be governed by the laws of England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland depending on the location of the property in question and these will be the courts having exclusive jurisdiction in any claims or disputes arising out of the provisions of this information.
For any issues relating to the Freedom of Information Act, please refer to the Freedom of Information homepage.
Published: 12 December 2012
Updated: 12 November 2015
- Amended link for latest Crichel Down Rules and added the rules were published by DCLG.
- There is a reference here to a website with DIO disposals on it. What is the site...where do you go if you want to see what ex MOD property,etc is available?
- First published.