The Government could be asked for £20 million to create “a new town centre worthy of the largest military garrison in the country”.
Richmondshire District Council’s corporate board will be asked on Tuesday to approve a bid to the Levelling Up fund to propel its joint ambition with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and North Yorkshire County Council to create more shops, services and a community focal point such as a town square in Catterick Garrison.
The move comes a year after the authority announced it was collaborating with the MoD on feasibility studies for regeneration schemes which would be centred on Shute Road and Richmond Road, close to Princes Gate shopping centre.
At the time, Major General David Southall said it was hoped to provide “the whole community with a distinctive and vibrant town centre, accessible via a network of new and improved sustainable transport links”.
An officer’s report to the corporate board states details of the potential Levelling Up Fund bid were not being revealed to the public as the project “could still substantially change”, but initial costings had indicated a total cost of between £15 million and £20 million.
The report states while the council has a mixture of rural and urban projects that could form the basis of a bid, officers felt the Catterick Garrison town centre project would best meet the Levelling Up Fund criteria.
The authority is optimistic about gaining government grants through the fund as it was classed alongside areas of low productivity and connectivity, such as Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Blackpool, when the fund was launched.
The officer’s report states the funding “would see the creation of a new town centre worthy of the largest military garrison in the country”.
Troop numbers at Catterick Garrison, which is already the largest Army base in the UK, are expected to rise by more than 50 per cent by 2031, under plans for a major expansion of the barracks.
Once the expansion plans are completed, Catterick will also become one of the largest settlements in North Yorkshire.
The authority’s leader Councillor Angie Dale said alongside a number of housing developments, troop numbers at the garrison had already increased and investment in the area was well overdue.
She said while elements of the bid were yet to be finalised there were some community needs which had been identified, such as a lack of places where residents could meet.
Coun Dale said: “The funding is much-needed to make a proper centre for a garrison town that is cohesive and linked-up.”
When asked if the bid would consider boosting the garrison’s night-time economy, she replied: “A town centre isn’t a place where you just shop any more.
“I’m excited to see what plans come forward. We are in desperate need of community space in the garrison as we have a large population of groups that haven’t got spaces to meet and grow.
“People need to recognise that we have the county’s largest garrison and with that there’s a duty of care and responsibility to provide places for people to shop and meet.”