The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has applied to the council for permission to build a new accommodation block for soldiers at Hounslow barracks.

Hounslow Council has launched a consultation on whether it should approve the three-storey building in Beavers Lane.

The MoD submitted the application last month following reports that reconstruction was desperately needed to the rundown barracks.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “The planning permission covers work to build new accommodation for soldiers based at Hounslow barracks. It is part of project SLAM (single living accommodation modernisation) – a UK-wide programme to improve this type of military accommodation.

“Defence Estates currently intends to build 396 new en-suite bed spaces in six new accommodation blocks. Three-hundred-and-fifty-four of these rooms will be for junior ranks with the remaining 42 for senior non-commissioned officers (SNCOs).

“Construction work is planned to start in March 2010 and be completed in mid-2011.”

MPs expressed their concern in a 2007 report that army barracks were in such bad condition that troops had better living conditions in tented camps in Afghanistan than they did back home.

A parliamentary investigation highlighted crowded housing blocks with overflowing drains, broken windows and decaying married quarters.

MPs visited army bases in Hounslow and in Pirbright, Surrey.

Their report described the accommodation as “disgraceful”, adding: “At Hounslow we found barrack blocks with overflowing drains and repairs which had been left unattended.”

A soldier based at Hounslow told a national newspaper that carpets were badly fitted, windows did not open and there was asbestos in the shed and kitchen cupboards.

He said: “I now have a wet, sagging patch on my living room ceiling because there is a leak in the bathroom and the outside of the property has subsidence cracks in it.”

The council awarded the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers freedom of the borough, the highest honour it can bestow, in November last year.

Hundreds of residents took to the streets to cheer on more than 500 troops to celebrate their return, and to commemorate the seven servicemen who lost their lives in Afghanistan.

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