Julian Smith, Member of Parliament for Skipton and Ripon, has convened a summit in Ripon to discuss the announced closures of Claro and Deverell Barracks.
The meeting saw representatives from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire LEP all join Julian to discuss what steps will need to be taken in the coming months to ensure that the site is used to its full potential.
James Ryley from the DIO reassured local residents and businesses in attendance that the Ministry of Defence would be working on delivering a sustainable solution which would make full use of the sites. While unable to give a timescale at the meeting, he assured the summit that the sale of these sites would aim to provide value for money for the taxpayer.
David Bowe, the Director of Business and Environmental Services, from North Yorkshire County Council spoke about Ripon’s need for affordable housing and Cllr Rebecca Burnett from Harrogate Borough Council discussed the opportunities that the sale of these sites presents to the local area, including opportunities for new sports facilities.
Julian Smith MP and the Chair of North Yorkshire LEP, Barry Dodd, stressed the need for local groups to come together and work with the councils to deliver a solution which will benefit the city and provide new facilities. Members of the Ripon City Plan team also spoke at the event about possible improvements to Ripon’s transport network in conjunction with the development.
Julian Smith MP said: ‘The summit was a great success and I was pleased to see so many people come and speak so passionately about this great city. The purpose of the summit was to initiate a dialogue between the many groups and organisations working in Ripon and I look forward to seeing plans for these sites progress in consultation with residents and businesses.’