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Claro Barracks

Volume 570: debated on Monday 4 November 2013

11. With reference to the Army basing review, what recent discussions he has had on the closure of Claro barracks in Ripon; and if he will make a statement. (900863)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his question. He will be acutely aware of the close links between Ripon and the Army, particularly the Royal Engineers. A meeting was held on 4 October 2013 with officials from Harrogate borough council and Ripon city council to discuss the implications of the Army basing plan and the relocation of 21 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers. The Department will continue to maintain contact with stakeholders as plans mature. I understand that the next meeting will have taken place by the end of November.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Ripon is coming to terms with the loss of the base, but we are still waiting for the Ministry of Defence’s decision on whether it ultimately wants to get out of Deverell barracks or Claro barracks. May I urge him to push forward that decision now, so that plans can be made for the future and Ripon is best placed to deal with a difficult time?

I fully understand my hon. Friend’s concerns. The announcement that has been made relates to the removal from Ripon of 21 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers, as we consolidate around Catterick. The separate but adjacent site, Deverell barracks, and the associated training area have not been subject to that announcement. A decision on them will be made separately, but I understand that the two sites are very much linked.