THERE are huge building projects currently underway in North Yorkshire. Hundreds of homes are being built at Sowerby Gateway near Thirsk and North Northallerton. But the expansion of Catterick Garrison is likely to be more rapid and extensive than anything we have seen.

The number of service personnel alone is set to double by 3,000, as military men and women from other bases in the UK and Germany are relocated to the North Yorkshire garrison.

They will bring with them their families and many will chose to settle in the community after their military service.

Central government, council, business leaders and the military accept that this will bring with it a need for more homes, roads, schools, GP surgeries and other facilities and national funding is to be made available.

This could be a lifeline for Richmondshire and Hambleton.

The problems facing services and facilities in North Yorkshire has been spelt out clearly by the county council in recent days. It's a stark picture.

Despite paying nearly double the council tax of people in the London borough of Westminster, people in North Yorkshire receive less central government funding to its council.

The problems facing the council are compounded by the fact its population is spread out across a huge geographical area. It also has one of the highest numbers of elderly residents in the country and is facing a crisis in adult social care.

We’ve mentioned many times in this column the loss of bus services, Post Offices, shops and services in North Yorkshire. Fingers crossed the expansion of Catterick Garrison could bring some of those services back.