Army to leave city barracks

Defence Minister Anna Soubry.
Defence Minister Anna Soubry.

The Army is to leave Deverell Barracks in Ripon by the summer, the Minister of State for Defence has confirmed.

Minister Anna Soubry confirmed the 15.5-hectare facility will be shutting in a letter to Ripon MP Julian Smith, who has been pressing her department for firm dates on the planned closure of Deverell and Claro Barracks.

The minister said: “I can confirm the Army has now defined its requirement and will be leaving Deverell Barracks by summer 2015.

“The site is expected to become vacant once the necessary site closure works have been completed.”

Deverell Barracks is currently used for training and only has a small team of 14 permanent staff.

Ms Soubry also confirmed the Government’s position on Claro Barracks remained unchanged, with the intention that 21 Engineer Regiment will move to Catterick Garrison at some time not before 2017.

She continued: “Each site will be disposed of in accordance with procedure, which will include making them available to any other Government departments who may have an interest.

“In making this decision we have taken into account new structures arising from the Army 2020 announcement and changes to the manning levels across the three services.

“The Ministry of Defence will now begin the process of detailed planning and necessary engagement with Harrogate Borough Council. This work will take some time.

“It remains our intention to identify the development opportunities for the sites through discussions with Harrogate Borough Council and other stakeholders.”

The severing of Ripon’s 100-plus years link with the military was first announced in March 2013 when the Government revealed its intention to relocate 21 Engineer Regiment to Catterick as part of plans to help the Government save £240m a year.

Other nearby bases forming part of the review announced in 2013 included Dishforth, which will remain open. There will be no changes at Topcliffe.