Scheme for firing range near Dales

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A new state-of-the-art firing range could be built on the doorstep of the Dales to support Europe’s largest Army base if plans are approved next week.

The development, which will include two 1,968ft ranges and six firing points, will be built on moorland at the Catterick Training Ground at Stainton, between Leyburn and Grinton.

The facility will be used for small arms range firing and will prepare troops for operations across the globe. Three single-storey buildings will also be built alongside the development, housing two troop shelter rooms, toilets, an office, a storeroom and a workshop.

To reflect the rural landscape, the buildings will be constructed from natural stone and any lost moorland will be replaced to avoid loss of natural wildlife habitat

The scheme will meet the demand of the growing army base – soldiers currently travel as far away as Northumberland, Scotland and Wales to train at other facilities.

Plans were first announced in 2005 for a modernisation and expansion programme at Catterick, which would see the addition of another five battalions to the existing six units to create one of the Army’s Super Garrison sites. Each battalion would have 600 to 650 troops and with their families the Army base’s population would grow to 25,000; almost double the existing number.

The application, which has been recommended for approval, will go before planners at Richmondshire District Council on Tuesday.

An MoD spokesman said: “Defence Infrastructure Organisation is responsible for providing, developing and maintaining a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities to meet the requirements of defence. Leyburn has been identified as a potential area for such facilities and subsequently, the aim of the project would be to deliver a military training environment that will support and prepare troops for operations worldwide. The cost of the project is commercially sensitive and unknown, as the project is at an early planning stage.”