Councillor Oliver Hemsley as acting council leader of Rutland County Council has confirmed to the Chief Executive that the Oakham town centre project is to be removed from the council’s forward plan with immediate effect.
The council said it had become evident that the project does not have wide enough support within the community and councillors are unwilling to bring forward a project without that support. It has therefore been agreed that all work on the project will cease.
Acting leader Coun Oliver Hemsley said: “It is imperative that we as a council continue to review how we can best support and deliver much needed improvements to Oakham town centre, for the benefit of all those who live, work and visit there.
“I am keen to spend 2018 working together with councillors, businesses and community representatives to review what can be done to achieve the objectives that underpin the Oakham town centre improvement scheme.
“No more physical work will be undertaken by the council on this project in 2018. This will allow time for the High Street and town centre to settle after the completion of the essential utilities work undertaken by Severn Trent and Western Power throughout much of last year.
“During 2018, I will be discussing with my cabinet and officers how best to work towards a scheme for the future. I remain committed to the need to invest in our county town but acknowledge that this endeavour must have wider support and I will work hard to achieve this.”
It follows the resignation yesterday (Monday, January 8) of previous leader Tony Mathias, who stepped down as leader and as ward member. He stated it had been “challenging” to “champion projects that I strongly feel are right for our county but which have not garnered support from the wider community”.