FAMILIES living in military rented property in and around Chippenham and Devizes have been given their marching orders to quit their homes.

Around 60 households have received an email telling them they must vacate their homes as part of an MoD efficiency drive.

Yvette Lewis from Eider Avenue in Lyneham has been renting her £945 a month house for three and a half years on a rolling tenancy, and said the quit notice had come as a complete shock.

"This is really shocking," she said. "Housing stock is low, and many of us have kids in local schools or jobs locally.”

Company Annington Homes is the freeholder of the properties. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a leasehold on the homes and letting agent Orchard & Shipman collect the rent on behalf of the MOD.

The MoD says it has a responsibility to house military families as part of their terms and conditions of employment and is not a civilian residential landlord.

It rents properties to civilians on a short term basis rather than keeping properties vacant, particularly if there are uncertainties over future demand levels.

But residents say the MOD is planning to terminate their lease by the end of March 2021.

“All we are asking is that Annington Homes consider offering us a new tenancy agreement so as to avoid disruption to all parties,” added Yvette.

A MoD spokesperson said: “As part of our responsibility to manage our estate effectively, any extra and vacant properties can be let on a short term basis, with tenants made aware of the notice period before they move in.

“We will work with our partners to try to identify alternative accommodation in the area for those directly affected.”

It said it does not have a long term requirement for 158 properties in Lyneham, and they will be returned to Annington Homes Ltd.