Letter: Infrastructure - Need for rapid improvement

The 15 Field Squadron disbandment parade at Claro Barracks.  (131121M1d)
The 15 Field Squadron disbandment parade at Claro Barracks. (131121M1d)

May I add to those comments in the January 28 edition of the Gazette made by Mick Pallott (stretched infrastructure) as the result of the impending closure of the Ripon MOD (A) estate and the need for a rapid improvement irrespective of its future use of the current infrastructure.

From the moment the S of S announced the proposed closure, a number of people have been quietly working behind the scenes.

The oft derided HBC planning department with their economic development colleagues responded immediately to a request that a survey be carried out to judge exactly what the impact on the local economy of Ripon would be. The survey was carried out in good time and the cost was met by HBC.

Allied to this was the City Plan team of volunteers who over the past two years have given freely of both their time and expertise, led by Coun Mick Stanley, were like most of us stymied by the fact that the MOD had yet to decide if they were vacating one site or the whole of their holdings.

We now know the answer and all of the estate less the married quarters will be disposed of.

Despite this hold-up a number of meetings were held to establish the needs especially in infrastructure which have been so clearly identified by Mr Pallott.

These joint meetings continue and I and Mike Chambers have personally met with a number of Ripon’s sports clubs leaders and other interested members of the public who have expressed concern or interest.

The next steps require the MOD to appoint their agent for the whole site, who in turn must seek a developer/s and this will take a little time.

This being the case there is additional time for real action to be taken by those parties most affected by any development such as NYCC as the Highways Authority, our Local Health Trust and again the NYCC education department covering the city’s schools’ ability to receive more children.

It is my belief that the timeframe will take until 2019/20 before any application is received by the local planning authority.

In the Gazette’s earlier front page article it was also reported the a well known Ripon city councillor advanced the suggestion that with so much land becoming available the application for housing at West Lane can be transferred to the MOD site.

If only such matters were that simple.

There are two different landowners, one of which has applied for housing on West Lane and it must be quite evident that despite the wishes of many residents for him to withdraw the application I, for one, believe that there is not much chance of him doing so.

Alan Skidmore

HBC Councillor, Ripon Spa ward