Wiltshire Council leader's anger at MoD as 1,350 military homes lie empty for years

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The leader of Wiltshire Council has described 1,350 empty military homes in the county as a "scandal" as more than 2,000 families wait for social housing.

The empty homes, many of which have multiple bedrooms and large gardens, are dotted around civilian communities.

The Ministry of Defence rents them from a private company, but council tax records show they have been empty for several years.

"I honestly think it's a scandal," leader of Wiltshire Council Richard Clewer told ITV News West Country.

"Taxpayers are spending money to keep properties empty, and I'm having to see green fields built on when we could be housing people in these empty homes."

There is huge pressure on Wiltshire's social housing stock.

Houses in Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury attract more than 100 bids each and there are currently 2,400 families are waiting for one of the council's 5,000 properties.

Some of the empty homes are falling into disrepair. Credit: ITV West Country

The council is also building around 2,000 homes a year, many on greenfield land, to keep up with general housing demand.

The Ministry of Defence told ITV News it keeps enough empty homes across the UK to enable 16,000 service families to be moved at short notice each year.

It said it does hand back surplus homes where possible.