Empty homes at a Courier Country army base should be made available to the wider public to help meet high demand, according to the area’s MSP.
Around a third of houses at Leuchars Station in Fife are unoccupied, it is understood, and Willie Rennie has called for them to be released for rent or sale.
When the army moved into the base in 2015 they brought with them fewer personnel than were there when it was under the RAF.
It is understood that houses in the base’s Hampden Close are already being let out on a private basis and the Lib Dem MSP wants the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to offer more.
Mr Rennie said: “It makes no sense to leave a third of the houses sitting empty when demand for housing in Fife is so high.
“I’m told a handful of properties on Hampden Close are being let out on a private basis.
“I want to encourage the defence infrastructure organisation to release more of their properties.
“Whether they may be for social rent, private rent or for sale, that’s up to them, I’d say they are all preferable options to continuing to see good homes sitting empty.”
The MoD confirmed it was sub-letting some houses at Leuchars but the need to be able to return properties to use by military families at short notice precluded more being available.
Some 63 are currently being sub-let, with 26 more being prepared for sub-let.
A spokesperson said: “In order to make the most effective use of the defence estate, we are making a proportion of empty military accommodation available to sub-let on a short term basis, so we can quickly get them back under MOD control if they are required for service personnel and their families.
“Money raised through this initiative is re-invested back into the defence estate.
“In our meetings with Fife Council to discuss the potential use of these properties, council officers reported that the relatively short-term nature of the sub-let programme would not be suitable to meet wider societal housing needs in the area as they would require properties on a longer term basis than we are able to accommodate.”
The MoD said needs of service personnel and their families remained paramount and empty properties were let on a short term basis, determined site-by-site after consultation with the local commander.
There are 20 sites across Scotland, England and Wales where forces accommodation is sub-let.