Government plans for new eco-towns could make £275m for the Treasury in land sales, as almost half the shortlisted sites are on MoD land marked for disposal.
Five eco-towns are to be built by 2016 and a further five by 2020. Of 15 potential sites, six are on MoD land that is either for sale or has already been sold. Critics claim that ministers charged with deciding on the locations will have a vested interest in picking the MoD sites, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
In the case of the former Royal Engineers depot at Long Marston, the Government stands to make up to £84m from a clawback agreement giving it 50 per cent of the land's increased value if chosen for an eco-town. MoD clawback clauses typically demand between 30 and 50 per cent. A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government Department said: "If surplus public-sector land is available in the right area, then it is right to consider development on such brownfield sites in preference to the green belt."