A decision on the selling off of York’s army barracks is not a done deal, and should be fought, say the council’s main opposition Labour Group.
December’s council meeting saw council leader David Carr challenged on his position on the barracks, following what Labour say was his acceptance of the Government’s decision to sever the city’s 2000 year military connection as a garrison base.
Cllr Carr refused to challenge the Government proposal at that time, only saying it was regrettable.
And having been further challenged at last week’s Executive to not accept the decision and to fight to retain the city’s military connection and the many jobs that look set to be lost, the council leader reaffirmed his lack of challenge to the decision.
Labour leader Cllr Janet Looker said:
'Cllr Carr accuses those wishing to challenge this decision of shedding crocodile tears, which is simply an attempt to divert the public from the main issue of his unwillingness to challenge his party in Westminster over this dreadful decision.
'We have challenged him on two separate occasions now in meetings to do the right thing, and both times he has refused. Instead, he is now meeting with the army commander in York to seek ways ‘to mitigate the effects’ of this closure in some sort of public relations exercise instead of going directly to the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, and saying as a council we completely oppose this decision. It’s quite simple and he is refusing to do the right thing in standing up for York.
'There is no way to mitigate the impacts of cutting York’s 2000 years of military connection. The Army will go, along with almost 1300 military and civilian jobs that come with having the two barracks in Fulford and Strensall. I don’t think the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition have given much thought to the knock on effect in lost jobs, lost spending in the local economy, falling demand for local school places, the list goes on.
'Cllr Carr will learn soon enough as leader of this council that there are occasions where the city’s interests must be put before party loyalties, and this is one of them”.
York Central MP Rachael Maskell has committed to fighting for the future of Imphal Barracks in her constituency, and Cllr Looker for the future of all York barracks lined up for sale by the Government.
Coun. Carr described the barracks sell off at a council meeting in December as ‘progress’.