The selflessness and sacrifice our armed services provide to keep our country safe is inspiring. I would like to give particular thanks for their most recent service in supporting the nation during the pandemic.
Ripon, in particular, has had a long association with the military and I am eager for this heritage and tradition to be protected. Previously, I led efforts for clarity over the future of Claro and Deverell Barracks in Ripon following the Army Basing Review. After the announcement, I held a summit to discuss the barracks' future with interested parties.
As part of its Defence Estate Optimisation programme and the “Better Defence Estate” strategy, the MoD announced in November 2016 that both barracks sites in Ripon – Claro Barracks and Deverell Barracks – will be vacated and used for redevelopment.
In February 2019, Homes England and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation announced a partnership to manage the vacation of the site. Homes England’s vision for the site is to create a new neighbourhood within Ripon – integrated within the city and providing a connected and well-designed addition to the city. It is aimed that the site will produce 1,300 high-quality new homes for Ripon.
Following the submission of the planning application by the MoD and Home England to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) the Local Planning authority has approved the plans. The proposed redevelopment includes a new local centre with retail, commercial and community facilities along with employment opportunities. Also put forward is a new primary school, parkland and sports facility.
I have been clear that the redevelopment must take into account the concerns of local residents, including regarding traffic and transport infrastructure. I have represented these concerns to all the relevant bodies and I have been keen for Homes England to engage with the community as much as possible. It is, therefore, positive news to see that offsite highway improvements as well as pedestrian and cycling accessibility improvements are included in the development. Specifically, there are plans to improve four city centre junctions at High/Low Skellgate, Clocktower junction, Coltsgate Hill and Blossomgate/Westgate. These would be undertaken before any of the new homes are occupied.
According to a recent update, Claro Barracks will remain operational until late 2026. Now planning permission has been granted, phased works will begin. These will start at the Deverell Barracks.
I am in regular contact with North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council, Homes England and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation about the developments. I am also keen to ensure that local concerns are represented and heard.
Five public engagement events were held in Summer 2021, attended by over 400 people, followed up by 2 further events in early October 2021 to respond to initial feedback. A series of engagement events have also been held with stakeholder groups, such as Ripon City Council, Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council in their capacity as Highways Authority. A Strategic Oversight Board was established to manage the strategic vision for the site – with representatives from the Local Enterprise Partnerships, Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council contributing to shaping the project.
For more information please visit: http://riponbarracks.hyas.co.uk