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Bishop of Ripon criticises decision to close barracks
THE Bishop of Ripon has criticised the decision to close the city's Claro Army Barracks.
The base is home to 21 Engineer Regiment and is to close by 2017, as part of a reorganisation by the Ministry of Defence.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Bishop John Packer, said the closure would cause ‘substantial damage’.
“The damage to Ripon of the closure of Claro barracks will be substantial in terms of the economic effect, friendships and the pride of the city," he said. "I have no doubt that that will be the same for other places where barracks are being closed.
"What support will be available to local communities, especially in comparatively small places such as Ripon, in order that those effects may be mitigated for the whole community in which those barracks are set?”
Responding to the question by the Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, Lord Astor of Hever said: “My Lords, I can confirm to the right reverend Prelate that our objective is to have units based in similar locations for a much longer period of time so that wives can be encouraged to get jobs and children will have continuity of education.
"We have set out in this basic plan, which I hope noble Lords have with copies of the Statement, all the different places where the units coming back from Germany are going to. I accept that there is a lot to digest in this and I am organising a briefing in the Ministry of Defence on 19 March.
"All the members of the Armed Forces and the civil servants who have been working on the plan will be there to explain everything to noble Lords. Indeed, noble Lords who do not normally come into the MoD are welcome to come along, and I would very much welcome the right reverend Prelate.
"We will be able to discuss the support that we are planning to give to all the local communities, in particular the smaller ones.”
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