People in Yorkshire village 'left in the dark' about 160 empty homes

An MP said people living in a North Yorkshire village have been left “in the dark” as they are waiting to find out when more than 160 empty homes will be put back on the market.

Most of the homes are vacant after military personnel moved away when the Government decided to shut down RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is due to transfer ownership of the properties to Annington Homes, as most are vacant after military personnel moved away when the Government decided to shut down RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, is urging the Government department to expedite the process, as he is concerned the local community and businesses will suffer if the homes stand empty for a prolonged period of time.

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He is particularly concerned about Linton-on-Ouse Primary School, where the number of pupils has fallen from 120 to 60.

The MoD is due to hand 56 homes back to Annington Homes, which rents out properties across the country, in February. But it has not revealed when ownership of the other properties will be transferred.

Mr Hollinrake said: “It’s frustrating that it is taking so long to come about. We know the base is all but closed, yet we can’t bring these properties back into useful occupation.

"I think they will sell very, very quickly. They are nice houses, that are well built. It would be a massive boost for the village."

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In a letter to Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin, he called on the MoD to take “imminent action”.

He wrote: “Each time I have raised this I have been given a non-committal answer which leaves my constituents in Linton-on-Ouse in a permanent state of concern.

“The impact of this situation on the local primary school, where roll numbers are dangerously low, as well as the general mood of the village is considerable. Although Annington Homes are expecting the properties to be handed back by February, there has been no firm commitment to do this – leaving the village and Annington Homes in the dark.

“Moreover, given there are still 12 tenants living in the properties, which must be vacant in order to be returned to Annington, there is an urgent need to relocate these residents.”

The MoD and Annington Homes were both approached for comment.

Mr Hollinrake has also been urging the Government to reveal what will happen to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, and earlier this month Mr Quin said an announcement would be made “shortly”.

The Government announced it would be sold off in 2018, along with 90 other M0D-owned sites, to save taxpayers around £140m.

The base was used by squadrons conducting raids during the Second World War and then became a training base in 1957.