Army barracks in York and Strensall to close

An aerial view of Imphal Barracks. Photograph © Bing Maps

Hundreds of years of history are to end and countless jobs to go with the closure of York’s army barracks.

Both Imphal Barracks on Fulford Road and Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Strensall will close as part of a radical restructuring announced by the government on Monday (November 7).

It will see a further diminishing of York’s defence role, which historically was a garrison town from the days of the Romans on, and end the army’s residence at the Fulford barracks which dates back to the 18th century.

Imphal Barracks, on Fulford Road, is home to:

  • 2 Signal Regiment
  • HQ 1st (United Kingdom) Division
  • 12 Military Intelligence Company, 1 Military Intelligence Battalion,
  • HQ 1 Investigation Company, Special Investigation Branch Regiment Royal Military Police.

In a Minstry of Defence document, The ‘Better Defence Estate’ strategy, the barracks are set to be closed by 2031.

No decision as to where these regiments will be relocated has been revealed.

Strensall to go

Queen Elizabeth II Barracks in Strensall. Photograph © Google Street View
Queen Elizabeth II Barracks in Strensall. Photograph © Google Street View

The Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Strensall are earmarked for closure in five years, by 2021.

It is home to:

  • HQ 2 Medical Brigade, and
  • 34 Field Hospital.

According to the MoD document, they would move to “ideally Gamecock Barracks, Nuneaton; subject to space being made available”.

Strensall ward councillor Paul Doughty said: “We have been aware for some time that the MoD has been stocktaking regarding it’s property portfolio and that Strensall Barracks was part of this mix.

“Naturally we are concerned about the loss of jobs the closing of the Barracks represents and the Ministry’s future plans for this substantial property.”

Conservative Cllr Doughty added:

Strensall Village has been subject to increasing infrastructure pressures as a result of development over the past several years and therefore whatever the future holds for the site will require significant planning and infrastructure investment.

Whilst I and the Conservative Group look forward to potentially positive uses for this landmark area of Strensall we intend to monitor further developments very closely and to engage with the MoD to effect the best possible outcome for our residents.

‘Better facilities’

The entrance to Imphal Barracks on Fulford Road, York. Photograph © Google Street View
The entrance to Imphal Barracks on Fulford Road, York. Photograph © Google Street View

In the most significant changes to defence land since the Second World War, 91 sites owned or managed by the MoD are set to be sold.

The £4 billion raised from the sales will be “reinvested back into defence, creating areas of military expertise in specific locations around the country”, the government said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

We have been spending billions maintaining a defence estate that doesn’t meet the needs of our Armed Forces. This plan delivers an estate fit for our forces and their families.

By putting money where it is needed, we will provide better facilities to train our Armed Forces and deliver more stability for military families.

York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell told the York Press that the Imphal closure would have a massive impact on York and its economy, with ministers having told her 365 civilian jobs were at risk.

Both are huge sites, and are bound to be considered prime real estate for residential, office and retail development.

History

Soldiers at the entrance to the Cavalry Barracks on Fulford Road in around 1910. These barracks were a direct result of Pitt's building programme of 1792. Photograph © Explore York Libraries and Archives
Soldiers at the entrance to the Cavalry Barracks on Fulford Road in around 1910. These barracks were a direct result of Pitt’s building programme of 1792. Photograph © Explore York Libraries and Archives
Imphal Barracks
Cavalry barracks were built in Fulford as part of the British response to the threat of the French Revolution and were completed in 1795. These have now been largely demolished.

The infantry barracks were built between 1877 and 1878.

In the 1950s the barracks were renamed Imphal Barracks to reflect the battle honours won by the West Yorkshire Regiment at the Battle of Imphal in spring 1944 during the Second World War.

The barracks also became the home of Northern Command in 1958.

In June 2006 a ceremony celebrating the formation of the Yorkshire Regiment was held at Imphal Barracks.

The barracks became home to 1st (United Kingdom) Division on 1 June 2015.

 
Queen Elizabeth II Barracks

Soldiers at Strensall Camp during the First World War. Photograph © Explore York Libraries and Archives
Soldiers at Strensall Camp during the First World War. Photograph © Explore York Libraries and Archives

Strensall Camp, which covers about 1,800 acres, was formed by the War Office in 1884 for training troops.

The barracks were renamed Queen Elizabeth II Barracks in the 1950s and went on to become the regional centre for infantry training as the Yorkshire Brigade Depot in 1960.

The barracks then became the depot of the King’s Division in 1968.

On 11 June 1974, the Provisional Irish Republican Army planted and exploded devices at the camp. No one was killed.

– Source: Wikipedia