Efforts being made to save historic 20th-century military buildings in Ripon ahead of new housing scheme

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Efforts are being made to save historic 20th-century military buildings when the 1,300-home Ripon Barracks scheme is developed.

It comes as councillors will meet on Tuesday (May 14) to consider giving final approval to the Clotherholme development.

Plans for the site also include a new primary school, sports pitches, retail, food and drink units and a 60-bed care home.

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Ripon Barracks consists of Deverell Barracks to the east, Claro Barracks to the west and Laver Banks to the south.

There are efforts being made to save the 20th-century military buildings in Ripon ahead of a new housing schemeThere are efforts being made to save the 20th-century military buildings in Ripon ahead of a new housing scheme
There are efforts being made to save the 20th-century military buildings in Ripon ahead of a new housing scheme

One of the last acts of Harrogate Borough Council in March 2023 was to approve the plans by Homes England and the Ministry of Defence, subject to the completion of a legal section 106 agreement.

But there have been question marks over what will happen to some of the site’s structures with some dating back to World War I.

The site includes seven training huts that are believed to be some of the last remaining of their type in the country as well as rare training bridges used by troops throughout the 20th century.

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Homes England initially said it would demolish the buildings, which provoked resistance in Ripon from local councillors and conservation group the Ripon Military Heritage Trust (RMHT).

According to an update prepared for councillors on the strategic planning committee, there have been discussions between North Yorkshire Council, Homes England and Ripon Military Heritage Trust (RMHT) regarding protection for the structures.

The report says since the plans were first approved, the trust has provided more information about the significance of Ripon Barracks, which “reinforces the role the site played in the country’s military history”.

The council’s conservation officer has also been involved in discussions and said they would support keeping a selection of buildings and the bridges at Laver Banks if it’s feasible.

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An updated design guide submitted by the developer suggests “number of buildings” could now be retained within the site on an area of Laver Banks that is “themed on the celebration of the important role that Ripon has played in supporting armed forces, including a trim trail that references the military version on site”.

The applicant has also undertaken an initial feasibility assessment, which has been shared with the RMHT.

This looks at potential options, including financial costings, for the dismantling, storage and rebuilding of a number of the different buildings.

The report adds that this feasibility study will help Homes England and RMHT investigate whether a deliverable and viable scheme can be developed to retain the military buildings.

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As part of the section 106 agreement, Homes England has agreed to contribute £100,000 towards a heritage strategy to explore the reuse of the buildings.

The report said: “Discussions are ongoing between the applicant and the Ripon Military Heritage Trust regarding the evolution of the strategy and the S106 will secure this process.”

North Yorkshire Council’s strategic planning committee will meet on Tuesday, May 14 at 10am to consider the Clotherholme scheme.

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