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Claro Barracks (Ripon)

Volume 564: debated on Monday 17 June 2013

10. What steps his Department is taking to engage with those affected by the closure of Claro barracks, Ripon. (159644)

Following the Army basing plan announcement of the 5 March 2013, which confirmed the closure of Claro barracks, Ripon, a meeting was held on 28 March with my hon. Friend and officials from North Yorkshire county council, Harrogate district council and Ripon city council. A further meeting was held on 7 May, at which the Department undertook to maintain contact with local authorities and agencies to keep our key stakeholders informed of developments as closure plans proceed.

I thank the Minister and civil servants for the sensitive way in which they are dealing with this serious issue in my constituency, but may I urge him to come to a quick decision on whether the Claro or the Deverell site will ultimately close?

My hon. Friend and I met and discussed that last month. As he knows, I am keen to see the site for myself. We have a use for a training camp in that area, and wish to retain the training area adjacent to both barracks. From what I understand, the Claro site is a better, more modern site, and the Deverell site might be more suitable for redevelopment. However, we will work through that with my hon. Friend and the local authority.

As a fellow north Yorkshire MP, I share the concern of my hon. Friend the Member for Skipton and Ripon (Julian Smith) with regard to Ripon, but will the Minister shed light on the future of the RAF Church Fenton site, which is to close by the end of this year? Are there plans to sell the site off or to use it for other military purposes? If so, what is the likely time scale?

I am slightly uncertain of the exact details on Church Fenton. If I may, I will write to my hon. Friend with the detail, but I understand that we intend to dispose of the site when it is entirely vacated.