Concern over Catterick Garrison expansion funding delays

Delays over a Government decision which could see Catterick Garrison becoming the third largest town in North Yorkshire would “seriously hinder” the ability of local authorities to provide key facilities, a committee will hear.

While the number of military personnel based permanently in the town is expected to increase to around 8,400 by 2030, alongside a similar increase in the families of military personnel, uncertainty surrounds how much Government funding will be made available for infrastructure such as roads and schools.

An officer’s report to North Yorkshire County Council’s Richmond constituency committee states while it is anticipated the first part of the development will start in 2020, planning to cope with the influx of residents is not possible until the Government has made the announcement.

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It has also revealed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has delayed an assessment study for the development, and as the scheme is part of a complex national programme and subject to future strategic defence reviews, the timings and extent of the development may change.

The Conservative-run authority’s leader, Councillor Carl Les, said he remained “optimistic” the MoD would announce next month the town’s development would be granted enhanced funding.

Catterick Bridge member Cllr Les, who is a member of the multi-agency strategic group overseeing the scheme, said despite the uncertainty numerous plans were being developed to maximise the economic and social benefits for residents of the area.

He said: “We are getting our ducks lined up better than we ever did.

“The timescales the MoD are working to fits in with us as long as they don’t accelerate it. Sometimes they do have to accelerate things, but it does take time to build a school and time to build a road.”

However, independent councillors are sceptical about the concerns, and claimed the matter was being raised at the newly-formed committee to justify its existence rather than tackle genuine local issues.

Councillors Stuart Parsons and John Blackie said they would boycott the meeting.

Cllr Parsons said: “If the council was doing its homework we could put plans in place in anticipation of the Government decision.”

The MoD did not respond to a request for a comment.