Published: 11:20, 01 February 2018
A new national housing agency – Homes England – has taken over the ownership of the former Ministry of Defence Lodge Hill barracks at Chattenden.
It means that controversial plans to build 5,000 homes on the site near Rochester, declared an area of national scientific interest, are back on the table.
A statement released today by the Government-run organisation said: “We can confirm that ownership of the Lodge Hill site has now passed from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to Homes England.
"Homes England remains committed to bringing forward new homes at Lodge Hill in line with government policy to use surplus public land to speed up the delivery of new homes, but in a manner that is sensitive to important environmental considerations.
"We are currently developing our options for the site and will consult on proposals in due course.”
Overseen by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid, Homes England will play a major role in fixing the housing market by helping to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
As the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency, it will drive forward change, as set out in the government’s housing white paper.
Natural England confirmed Lodge Hill in Chattenden as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its nightingale population, special grassland and woodland.
Development proposals were given the green light by the council in 2014 but the decision was put to the Secretary for State for Communities and Local Government.
But the planning application was withdrawn by the MoD last year.
It was the second time plans have been withdrawn after concerns the area was home to rare nightingales prompted developer Land Securities to withdraw its proposals in 2015.