The Ministry of Defence holds one of the largest estates in the country and plans to reduce it in size by 30% by 2040. As part of its Defence Estate Optimisation programme, and the “Better Defence Estate” strategy, the MoD announced in November 2016 that 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.
- Deverell Barracks – 11.9 ha site.
In line with commitments made by the Defence Secretary at the time of the announcement to report to Parliament each year on the progress made on implementing the strategy, it has recently been announced that the timeline for this disposal has been reviewed.
Following detailed assessment work concerning the first phase of delivering the strategy, disposal of Deverell Barracks is now expected to commence in 2021, rather than 2020 as previously planned. Disposal of Claro Barracks is expected to commence in 2023, rather than the previously estimated date of 2019.
All military units currently based at Deverell and Claro Barracks will still be moved, although these moves will now be delayed. The joint services adventure training team will move from Deverell Barracks to Halton Training Camp, Lancaster in 2021, and 21 Engineer Regiment will move from Claro Barracks to Marne Barracks, Catterick in 2023.
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.
In February 2019, a partnership was announced between Homes England and DIO for the site. DIO and Homes England will work together, alongside local authorities, to progress development of the site, while the land will remain in the ownership of the MoD throughout the project. 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 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.