Army moves out of Keighley just months after revealing three-year withdrawal plan

The army has moved out of Keighley.

Military bosses confirmed this week the Army Reserve, formerly the Territorial Army, had vacated its Drill Hall home in Lawkholme Lane.

They stressed the regiment will still be recruiting locally, and was keen to maintain links with the town.

But the decision to vacate has come under fire from a Keighley town councillor and former soldier, who fears it will have serious implications for local recruiting efforts.

“It’s disgraceful,” said Coun George Metcalf.

“They also closed the Halifax Drill Hall years ago, so now the nearest presence in West Yorkshire is Pudsey, Leeds or Huddersfield.

“They say they’re recruiting on-line, but from my experience, someone interested in joining up needs to speak to someone face to face.

“There’s a lot of history in that Drill Hall, and it’s especially sad this has happened on the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.”

Coun Metcalf was in the regular army before joining the Territorial Army in 1979 and serving with them for 23 years.

Lieutenant Colonel Iain Hallam, commanding officer of 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, said it was with “some sadness” the unit had moved out.

He added: “The move is part of the restructuring of the Army Reserve, and the 20-or-so soldiers from Keighley will parade in Leeds or Huddersfield in future.

“The Yorkshire Regiment will continue to recruit both regular and reserve soldiers from the Keighley area, and is very keen to maintain its strong links with the community.”

He added army cadets will carry on training at the Drill Hall.

Late last year, the Keighley News reported councillors had been warned the reservist unit would move out, but that this would happen “within three years”.

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