Home   News   Article

Rutland County Councillors vote in favour of £30m funds for St George's Barracks plan




Rutland county councillors narrowly gave the green light for a business case to be put forward for a grant of £30million to help fund associated infrastructure for the St George’s Barracks development.

At a heating three-hour meeting on Monday night, councillors voted 12-11 for a motion that will now see the county council put forward its case for a grant from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

UGC St George's protestors (6693089)
UGC St George's protestors (6693089)

If approved, this money would be spent on upgraded roads and junctions, new healthcare facilities and public transport at the site of the proposed 2,215 home development, which currently forms the basis of an Evolving Masterplan.

The council is working with the Ministry of Defence to come up with a scheme once the Army vacates the North Luffenham site in 2021.

Around 100 residents packed into the council chamber with another 200 in the Rutland County Museum to hear the debate on a live stream due to the ‘unprecedented interest’.

Five deputations were read from leading members of the community, who all expressed their unhappiness with the current proposals for the development and called for a smaller number of houses.

They all urged councillors to vote against supporting the Housing Infrastructure Fund business case.

Neil Newton, from Empingham Parish Council, described the plan as “a monstrous new modern housing scheme estate totally out of keeping with Rutland”.

Andrew Johnson from Morcott Parish Council said that by agreeing to move forward with the bid the council would be “paving the way for a large settlement which is not required to meet Rutland’s housing needs”.

He said the scale of the development would “change the face of Rutland forever”.

The plans for the St George's Barracks site (6794702)
The plans for the St George's Barracks site (6794702)

Oliver Hemsley (Con), leader of Rutland County County, stressed to the meeting that by giving approval to the business case being put forward, it was not giving approval to the development being included in Rutland’s local plan or a planning application.

He said it instead would allow for the ‘retrofitting’ of infrastructure for the site and Rutland as a whole.

Coun Hemsley said: “You are are being asked to support a business case.

“Please consider that what we have tonight is a unique opportunity to give us a future that Rutland deserves.”

Councillors spoke both in favour of and against the business case before them.

Coun Gary Conde (Con), said: “This is about tomorrow.

“It is not about 2,215 houses landing in the next five years.

“This is a phase and it will be a phased project.”

Coun James Lammie (Con) warned that Rutland is ‘getting hollowed out’ of people under the age of 40’ and that by backing the bid would “allow Rutlanders to come back home to be near their families”.

St George's Barracks at North Luffenham which is set to be redeveloped (6794717)
St George's Barracks at North Luffenham which is set to be redeveloped (6794717)

However, Coun Edward Baines (Con) had concerns that by rubber stamping the business case bid, the council was “giving tacit support to the number” of homes.

Coun Gale Waller (Lib Dem), also attacked the business case for the grant, saying that approval for it would be also approving the 2, 215 homes and to think otherwise is ‘nonsense’.

“What we have before us is a proposal to create a new town of 5,000 to 6,000 souls,” she said.

“All of the development until 2036 will be at this site.”

A recorded vote was taken with 12 in favour of putting in for the funds and 11 against.

The authority now has until March 22 to put in the bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Hemsley said: “This was a hugely important decision for Rutland and I think that we have had a result that clearly indicates the feeling within the county.

“St George’s is a site which the Ministry is obligated to redevelop in line with national housing and treasury targets.

“Our partnership with the Ministry of Defence has sought to balance these national priorities with our own local needs and, in so doing, ensure that any future redevelopment makes a genuinely positive contribution to Rutland.

“Securing Housing Infrastructure Funding that can deliver improved infrastructure around St George’s, and throughout the wider county, is vital.

“We are determined that a development which has been heavily influenced by local people should also be supported by all the necessary improvements to roads, transport, schools and healthcare to meet the needs of our communities.

“We need to continue to work very hard with the residents through the advisory group and other methods to ensure that we get what is right for Rutland.

“For me, that is the clear challenge that came from the meeting.”

Robert Stone, head of estates at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said: “We welcome the decision by Rutland County Council’s full council to approve the HIF business case for St George’s.

“The bid must still be submitted to Homes England, who will then decide whether to award Housing Infrastructure Fund funding to the St George’s
project.”

For the housing scheme to go forward it would need to be adopted into the local plan and also granted planning permission.

The infrastructure works are expected to cost £95m with the remaining £65m paid by the developer.

As well as housing, the the site would include a primary school and a health centre and a 125 hectare country park.

How the recorded vote went:

In favour of motion to approve bid for £30m funding were: Oliver Hemsley (Con), Gordon Brown (Con), Alan Walters (Con), David Wilby (Con), Lucy Stephenson (Con), Richard Foster (Con), Gary Conde (Con), Ian Arnold (Ind), Nick Begy (Con), Ben Callaghan (Ind), James Lammie (Con), Marc Oxley (Ind).

Against the proposal were: Edward Baines (Con), Kenneth Bool (Con), Rachel Burkitt (Con), William Cross (Con), Jeff Dale (Ind), June Fox (Con), Adam Lowe (Ind), Alastair Mann (Con), Chris Parsons (Ind), Gale Waller (Lib Dem), Richard Gale (Ind).

Absent from the meeting were: Richard Alderman (Ind) and Oliver Bird (Ind).

There is currently a vacant seat in the Cottesmore ward.

Reaction from the parish councils:

Paul Cummings, chairman of North Luffenham Parish Council, released a statement on behalf of North Luffenham St George’s Barracks Working Group after the meeting.

It said: “While we are disappointed that the county council is pressing ahead with its bid for HIF funding before the full council has even had a chance to debate the masterplan in detail, we are encouraged by the fact that it was a close vote and many councillors appeared to understand the genuine alarm the St George’s project has created in the surrounding villages.

“The parish councils and communities who put their cases so persuasively last night are to be congratulated on the time and effort they have spent to convince the council of what they believe is ‘Right for Rutland’.

“The turnout of almost 300 members of the public clearly demonstrated the strength of feeling locally. We shall maintain our efforts to influence the outcome of this project and will expect the council to honour the assurances given last night that submission of the bid for government grants does not commit the council irrevocably to the current version of the masterplan.”

Reaction from Coun Oliver Hemsley (Con), leader of Rutland County Council:

“This was a hugely important decision for Rutland and I think that we have had a result that clearly indicates the feeling within the County.

"St. George’s is a site which the MOD is obligated to redevelop in line with national housing and Treasury targets.

"Our partnership with the MOD has sought to balance these national priorities with our own local needs and, in so doing, ensure that any future redevelopment makes a genuinely positive contribution to Rutland.

“Securing Housing Infrastructure Funding that can deliver improved infrastructure around St George’s, and throughout the wider county, is vital.

"We are determined that a development which has been heavily influenced by local people should also be supported by all the necessary improvements to roads, transport, schools and healthcare to meet the needs of our communities.

"We need to continue to work very hard with the Residents through the Advisory Group and other methods to ensure that we get what is right for Rutland.

"For me, that is the clear challenge that came from last night.”

Reaction from Robert Stone, head of estates at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation:

“We welcome the decision by Rutland County Council’s Full Council to approve the HIF business case for St. George’s.

"The bid must still be submitted to Homes England, who will then decide whether to award HIF funding to the St. George’s project.

"This is a positive step and we await the outcome of the bidding process.”



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More