Public feedback on draft plans for the redevelopment of St George’s has been used to steer evolving proposals for the site which feature fewer houses, more open space and even greater commitment to improving local infrastructure.
The changes have been put forward by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Rutland County Council, who have published a list of recommendations that will be used to help shape the evolving Masterplan for St George’s.
A draft plan setting out how St George’s Barracks could be developed after the army leaves in 2020/21 was published for the first time earlier this year. Local residents, community groups and other interested bodies were then asked to share their views on the draft proposals as part of an informal consultation which ran from 11 May to 15 June 2018.
A total of 624 official responses were received as part of the consultation, together with various letters and emails, a petition and a community survey conducted among residents of Edith Weston.
All of this feedback has since been reviewed and considered alongside the MOD’s requirements for redeveloping of the site. The result is a series of more than 40 recommendations to guide changes to the evolving Masterplan.
Included among a comprehensive set of recommendations are proposals to:
- Reduce the suggested number of houses on the site from the initial range of 1,500-3,500 put forward in spring 2018 to between 1,500-2,700, which will in turn lower the density of the houses on the site
- Increase the size of buffer zones and green space around the development, the land identified for minerals extraction and the surrounding villages of Edith Weston and North Luffenham
- Carry out further, more detailed, transport assessments to plan improvements to local infrastructure, looking at more of the County’s roads and junctions
- Detail the specific types of employment to be encouraged on the site’s 14-hectare business zone and how these jobs will be brought forward alongside new homes
- Provide more detailed information about proposed health, well-being and education facilities, including a new GP surgery and primary school
- Support for the County’s tourism offer, with improved parking facilities for Rutland Water, the creation of a Thor Missile museum or visitor facility and potential provisions for a hotel, lodges and camping all to be explored
- Protect against future development around Edith Weston and North Luffenham as part of the new community coming forward
Responding to the publication of these recommendations, Council Leader Oliver Hemsley said: “St George’s Barracks has served the country, in one form or another, for more than 80 years and, when the base closes in 2020/21, it’s important that the site continues to serve Rutland’s needs. That is why we have sought to work with the MOD to develop a plan for the future of St George’s, and why the feedback provided by residents is so important.
“Together with the MOD, we have listened to people’s views and concerns and used this feedback to make significant changes to the initial draft proposals. These recommendations are a direct result of the public consultation that has gone before and aim to strike a balance between what local people want and what the MOD needs to achieve from the redevelopment of St George’s. They will now be used to refine the evolving Masterplan for the site – evolving because there are still questions we need to answer and additional changes to be made based on further studies, viability assessments and feasibility work.”
Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Head of Estates Robert Stone said: “DIO is pleased to be working with Rutland Council to bring forward the development of the barracks site and we recognise the importance of engaging with residents to ensure that the future use of the site benefits the wider community.
“The extensive public consultation had resulted in a number of suggestions which are now being considered, we look forward to providing further updates on the project in due course.”
An updated version of the evolving Masterplan is due to be presented to Rutland County Council’s Cabinet in October and Full Council in November, together with a potential bid for funding to support the delivery of key infrastructure in advance of house building.
Councillor Hemsley added:
There’s still a lot of work to do to shape the evolving Masterplan and produce a set of finished proposals with adequate provisions for new and existing communities. Ultimately, this depends on whether the proposals are viable for the MOD.