An MP said today centuries of history will come to an end after a ‘major u-turn’ by the Army would see ‘the end of York as a garrison city’.
Rachael Maskell was speaking after the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the 1st (UK) Division will move from its York HQ to Catterick in 2028.
That could see the closure of Imphal Barracks three years earlier than previously planned.
“This major u-turn on previous commitments, which placed the Headquarters of the 1st Division in York, and will end hundreds of years of history, as York is the country’s first garrison city,” Ms Maskell told YorkMix
“The plans have now brought forward the closure to 2028, following the loss of facilities at Strensall and Towthorpe.”
The Army describes the 1st (UK) Division as “the British Army’s most versatile force – light, agile, lethal and expeditionary”.
North Yorkshire County Council leader Cllr Carl Les welcomed the commitment to Catterick.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Army and other partners to ensure the best possible services and support for garrison personnel – who, along with other service families in North Yorkshire, play a vital role in the life of the county,” he said.
York will remain the headquarters of 2 Signals Regiment as things stand, the MOD said.
And the Army will create the 19th Brigade this year, “designed to command and force generate the Army Reserve combat units”. It will be headquartered in York.
Ms Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, said: “While at first the Government’s announcement of a new brigade, 19th Brigade, for York sounded as a means to keep York’s relationship with the Armed Forces alive, it seems that this will be short lived, as I have established that this will only be until 2029, when the new civil contingencies brigade moves to Catterick too.
“I continue to regularly lobby government over its plans to strip out York’s relationship with the Armed Forces, since it will have a significant impact on our city, jobs and the Armed Forces as a whole.
“When Labour left office there were 102,000 people serving with he British Army. This is now being cut to just 73,000, depleting our national security and the vital role that our Army play in de-escalating risk around the world.
“It is a shameful record, one Labour is determined to overturn.”