MANY of the employees at York's doomed barracks will be guaranteed the option of redeploying to other sites, a Government minister has said.

Mark Lancaster said the Ministry of Defence would seek to minimise redundancies and would consult with trades unions well in advance of the proposed closure of Queen Elizabeth Barracks at Strensall in 2021 and of Imphal Barracks in Fulford Road in 2031.

The Minister, who is in charge of the site disposal plans, was speaking to York Outer Tory MP Julian Sturdy in a meeting at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.

Mr Sturdy said he sought assurances over the risk to local civilian support jobs, the development plans for the sites and the future of Strensall Common.

He said Mr Lancaster assured him that, under the terms of their contracts, a large proportion of affected staff were already guaranteed the option of redeployment to other sites.

"He also made clear that the government intended to consult with trade unions on the changes well in advance of their implementation, so that staff representatives would be able to have their say on this process," said Mr Sturdy.

He said he had stressed that as the sites were adapted for alternative use, such as residential housing, it was important the local infrastructure was updated in line with the changes.

"The Minister listened to this, and said that any change of use would depend on decisions taken by the estates and planning team at the Ministry of Defence," he said.

He added that the Minister had confirmed that Strensall Common, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), was not part of the package of changes.

The MP said: “Although these changes are regrettable in light of the important contribution the York Garrison has made to our armed forces, meeting the Minister has reassured me that the Government is committed to engaging sensitively and constructively on this matter with City of York Council and the local community.

"The Minister’s commitment to providing redeployment opportunities for local staff wherever possible and to engaging with trade union representatives is very welcome."

Mr Sturdy added that any future residential re-development of the sites had to reflect the capacity of the local infrastructure, which would have to be upgraded if new housing was planned.