Major plan to convert Army base into village

Plans have been unveiled to build houses on the site of St George's Barracks
Plans have been unveiled to build houses on the site of St George's Barracks
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Plans have been revealed to build a village on the site of an Army base which is set for closure in 2021.

Rutland County Council and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), part of the Ministry of Defence, are working together to develop a scheme for the future of the land on which St George’s Barracks, at North Luffenham, currently sits it was revealed on Monday.

The Army’s 1st Military Working Dogs and 2 Medical Regiment is to leave the 700 acre site within four years as part of the Defence Estate Optimisation strategy (DEO).

The DEO aims to save the MoD money by releasing current military land nationally with the potential for 160,000 new homes by 2020.

As a result the county council is working with the DIO to utilise the site, near Rutland Water and the A1, to make sure that it is developed in a way that takes account of existing nearby communities, local needs and the environment.

So a master plan is being drawn up by the partners with a view to placing housing, leisure facilities and businesses on the land.

Councillor Oliver Hemsley (Con), deputy leader of the authority and portfolio holder for growth, said: “Our partnership’s vision for St George’s is the creation of a new garden village with the right mix of housing, enterprise, leisure and recreation.

“This will be long-term project once the base has closed, with phased development over a period of 10 to 15 years.

“Our intention is to deliver quality development, rather than quantity, with appropriate housing density, detailed plans for each area and the right social and economic infrastructure put in place well in advance.

“There will be plenty of opportunity for people to get involved, including formal consultation once plans have been developed further.”

At present it is not known how many houses would be built or of the possible cost of developing the land.

The council has promised that it will put in place any infrastructure and amenities before building houses.

The land will be developed as a stand alone village and would not be an extension of Edith Weston or North Luffenham. A survey of any minerals on the site which would need to be removed will be carried out too.

Leader of the council, Councillor Tony Mathias (Con), said: “This is a wonderful opportunity.

“Early discussions between the council and MoD have been extremely positive and have fostered a genuine appetite to work together as part of an innovative new approach.

“We are starting now to flesh out the details.”

Part of the land, formerly known as RAF North Luffenham, is where PGM-17 Thor Missiles were stored between 1959-63 in the Cold War.

This area cannot be developed as the remains of the missile silos are Grade II* listed.

Robert Stone, the DIO’s head of estates, said: “We are pleased to work with the county council to determine the future use for St George’s Barracks.

“The DIO is keen to work with local authorities to ensure that sites released under the DEO are used in a way that benefits surrounding communities.”

Alan Duncan, the Conservative MP for Rutland and Melton, said: “I welcome the announcement of the partnership to develop plans for the St George’s Barracks site.

“This has the potential to be an innovative and unique project which ensures the development of this land is sensitive to its surroundings and takes into account the views of the local community.

“I understand that there will be some anxiety about the closure of the barracks and it is critical that local organisations and groups are regularly consulted. I have been reassured that the council have so far engaged fully with local stakeholders and will continue to do so.”

Details via www.rutland.gov.uk/stgeorges or e-mail stgeorges@rutland.gov.uk