Claro Barracks in Ripon set to close

Claro Barracks will close in 2017.
Claro Barracks will close in 2017.

Claro Barracks in Ripon is set to close as part of a Ministry of Defence shake-up to accommodate thousands of troops returning from Germany in 2015.

Claro Barracks – which houses 21 Engineers Regiment and 15 Field Squadron (Search) – will be closed and returning forces will be stationed at Catterick in 2017.

As part of the proposals, Dishforth – which houses the 1 Regiment Army Air Corps – will move to South Somerset by 2016, and German regiment 6 Force Logistic Logistic Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps from Gütersloh will be moving to the Dishforth base.

There will be no change to Topcliffe’s 4th Regiment Royal Artillery.

Ripon MP Julian Smith told the Gazette he is disappointed with the proposals.

“Ripon has a proud military history and the city has always given the servicemen and women, and their families, who are based here the warmest of welcomes. I pay tribute to the city council, cathedral, Harrogate Borough Council and the many other people and organisations who have provided this support.

“During the First World War, Ripon accommodated 30,000 soldiers as one of the main centres for the organisation of troops being sent to and returning from the front. Ripon was also where the great war poet Wilfred Owen wrote many of his most famous works.”

Mr Smith will now be meeting defence ministers to try and “ensure that those currently based in Ripon and affected by this decision are given all the support possible”.

Mayor of Ripon Coun Andrew Williams told the Gazette: “I was really disappointed to hear this news. The army are valued and respected members of the Ripon community and we have a long history of working together.

“It is particularly bad news when the regiment is just weeks away from completing a six month tour of duty and are returning home to face this uncertainty.”

Mr Smith will be available outside Ripon town hall on Saturday, March 9 at 10am to discuss issues arising from the decision.

Coun Williams said the city council will be working with Mr Smith, other local authorities, the Chamber of Trade and support bodies to minimise the impact on local families and the city’s economy.