The Ministry of Defence (MoD) published a report entitled ‘A Better Defence Estate’ in November 2016. The MoD holds one of the largest estates in the country and plans to reduce it in size by 30% by 2040. As part of this strategy, the barracks sites in Ripon will be vacated and used for development.
The sites are:
- Claro Barracks – a 43.8 ha site which contains a technical area with high quality engineering units. Its estimated date of disposal is 2019.
- Deverell Barracks – 11.9 ha site with an estimated date of disposal in 2020.
The Defence Secretary has committed to report to Parliament each year on the progress made to implement the strategy, and the next update is due towards the end of this year (2018).
Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and Ripon City Council are in contact with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which is managing the vacation of the sites. HBC has identified the potential for new homes and space for new employment, which it hopes will bring significant economic and community benefits to Ripon.
The DIO will prepare a master-plan for the whole site, in partnership with both councils, and is carrying out assessment studies to fully establish the vacation of these sites and their future development.
Julian Smith convened a summit in Ripon to discuss the announced closures of Claro and Deverell Barracks in 2016. 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 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 MoD would be working on delivering a sustainable solution which would make full use of the sites. 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 said: ‘The summit was a very useful opportunity to initiate a dialogue between the many groups and organisations working in Ripon. I continue to monitor progress on these sites in my discussions with local residents, businesses, the local authorities and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.’
Julian is in regular touch with the Chief Executive of Harrogate Borough Council and Ministry of Defence regarding the progress of the disposal and future proposals.