AN army barracks and a former second world war airfield in Colerne are among sites this week earmarked by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon for house building.

Azimghur Barracks, which is walking distance of the centre of the village, is at the moment home to 21 Signals Regiment. The barracks includes a multi-gym, Mace minimarket, cashpoint, thrift shop, and a community centre which is used by a number of youth groups and a mums and tots club.

The Signals Regiment provides communications for the RAF Support Helicopter Force. According to an army website, the regiment is equipped with the forefront of modern ground to air and ground based tactical communications.

Azimghur and the nearby airfield are part of more than 1200 hectares of surplus public sector land on 13 sites right across the UK that will be released by the MoD for housing, in a bid to ease Britain's housing crisis by providing more land for homes.

The sites are expected to provide land for up to 17,000 new homes, contributing to the government’s target of building 160,000 new homes by 2020. All of the money generated from land sales will be invested back into meeting the needs of the Armed Forces.

Tuesday's announcement – the third tranche of sites to be released – means the MoD has now freed up enough brownfield and surplus public sector land for up to 39,000 new homes, expected to generate around £930 million.

Mr Fallon said: “We are getting rid of land that we don’t need to build homes that we do, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in the process. Our commitment to protect and increase the budget for our armed forces means every penny of that will be reinvested into defence, helping to keep Britain safe.”

Among other sites in Wiltshire due to be sold is the airfield at nearby Hullavington and the RCB at Westbury.