Letter: Barracks plan - Council should buy Army homes

Claro Barracks.  (131121M1d)
Claro Barracks. (131121M1d)

I was interested to read in the Gazette about the MoD land that will be up for sale for building new houses once the Army have moved out of Ripon.

In the 1960s I was at school in the rural market town of Barnard Castle. In 1970 the Army moved out of Barnard Castle. As with Ripon there were concerns that the town would suffer. It didn’t, it flourished and is a bustling tourist attraction. I’m sure I remember rightly that back then the council bought all the vacated Army quarters and the council housing waiting list was wiped out at a stroke. I wondered if the council here has any such plans?

As for the government’s target to build thousands of new homes. This is not quite as it is worded. I believe the government isn’t actually paying for the building of any new homes. They are agreeing to sell publicly owned land to developers so that the developers can finance the building of said new homes.

So the government rather than financing the building of houses actually gains the cash by selling the land and takes the credit for providing the housing.

The developers will understandably have to make a profit so only a small percentage of the new homes will be “affordable” in my opinion.

This is totally different to back in the 50s and 60s when hundreds of thousands of “council houses” were built at government expense. Up to a hundred thousand “council houses” a year were being built in the 1960s.

I just wonder what the plan is for the existing Army quarters on the Army site. Are they all to be demolished so that many more homes can be built on the same space?

It seems common sense to me for the council to purchase the ready to occupy homes once they are vacated.

Ian Maltman