Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received in relation to St George’s, together with the responses to these requests, have been published and can be viewed below.

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Please can you supply me with the full details of the Memorandum of Understanding between Rutland County Council and the MOD that covers St Georges Barracks?

 

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Can you advise the legal advice on the applicability of the Crichel Down rules for disposal of Government Land obtained under Compulsory Purchase provided to the CEO of RCC regarding the proposed development of St Georges Barracks

 

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St Georges Barracks Report 54/2018
Please share the documentary evidence showing community engagement, stakeholder ambitions for the site that then support ambitions to build 1500-3000 homes.

 

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Please share the documentary evidence showing how 1,500 -3,000 homes in a rural county alongside villages of circa 400 – 500 homes is not seen as ‘over – development’.

 

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The calculations behind and social, environmental & infrastructure justification for, ‘Effectively c70 homes’ on land in such proximity to Edith Weston that should the proposed be developed would see an over 23% increase in housing in the immediate area – without even considering the so called ‘garden village’

 

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In relation to informal consultation. With whom, when and where? where are the minutes? How was this published prior to the event?

 

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Have any external consultants been used or approached, if so who, for when, for what purpose, and at what costs?

 

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Have any land agents approached RCC or has RCC consulted some?

 

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In relation to the Hampshire employees who stood back at the Focus Group sessions on 29 January 2018;

a. What are their names, positions in HCC or other business?

 

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b. Who paid their travel expenses?

 

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c. Did they and do they continue to play a part in the St Georges proposed development?

 

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d. What role do they play?

 

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e. Who in RCC made the decision to appoint RegenCo?

 

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f. How is RegenCo’s appointment reported and understood by stakeholders?
RCC have been open at all events that Regenco have been commissioned to deliver the Master Plan

 

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In relation to agreed site layouts and unit densities, house types and numbers;

a. What layouts, unit densities, house types and how many numbers?

 

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b. Who has previously agreed this

 

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In relation to marketing outside of the RCC area, what would be the projected cost of any such marketing, at what stage(s) would this take place?

 

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How much more funds will be need to released? Is this in addition to the £850k and the £1m?

 

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In relation to Site Investigation and Risk Mitigation. What methodology will be used to make public the full findings of the surveys

 

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If costs exceeding £1m for design fees require Cabinet and Council approval from where it will be sourced and what will be sacrificed or postponed for its provision?

 

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In relation to starter homes;
a. What precise quantity will there be?

 

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b. What would be the actual as a % of the yearly build rate?

 

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c. What is RCC’s definition of ‘Starter Home’?

 

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d. Their value in terms of realistic attainment for Rutland new buyers?

 

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Why are circa £1m of capital receipts un-allocated?

 

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Clarification is sought for multiple conflict of interests of Cllr Hemsley and the Chief Executive Officer by sitting on multiple boards which then report to each other?

 

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How can I be assured there will be no more ‘informal’ consultations, decisions and planning meetings?

 

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Why are you considering marketing outside the area when Cllr Hemsley is quoted in the press as saying ‘… shared commitment to guard against over-development and make sure whatever is built in the future meets the needs of Rutland and the people who live here.’

 

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Cllr Hemsley also sitting on Cabinet and Council, holding portfolio for ROPE which is shown as separate participant on the delivery board. Surely the entire multiple board chair and seat is a most incestuous and unhappy state of affairs. Please clarify how Cllr Hemsley sees all this as being correct, moral and acceptable in the eyes of the people.

 

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I see that £850,000 was approved by Cabinet for the feasibility study on the St Georges Barracks Officers Mess site

Can I request a breakdown of the budget for this amount – obviously this can be redacted with regard to the commercial entities I assume will be involved, however the amounts for a high level line items overview should not be commercially sensitive

 

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Please provide a copy of the submitted Rutland County Council’s bid for funding under the Housing Infrastructure Fund

 

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A copy of the Master Plan covering the proposed development.

 

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A statement of the internalisation percentage used for the incremental peak hour traffic increase calculation; as well as the outcome of that calculation included in both of the above documents.

 

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The calculations behind and social, environmental & infrastructure justification for, ‘Effectively c70 homes’ on land in such proximity to Edith Weston that should the proposed be developed would see an over 23% increase in housing in the immediate area – without even considering the so called ‘garden village’

 

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Please supply Master Plan detail, showing the calculations as requested originally.

 

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Who in RCC made the decision to appoint RegenCo?

 

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If the Monitoring Officer authorised the decision, once again, WHO made the decision?

 

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Prior to the appointment of RegenCo, what if any due diligence was undertaken?

 

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What consultations were undertaken with North Luffenham Golf Club prior to the release of the Masterplan? Please supply written evidence.

 

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When was the infrastructure survey undertaken, what scope was issued to RegenCo? Please supply written evidence.

 

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Masterplan extract: ‘The proposed population of the new community needs to reflect the Government’s objective of making the best possible use of available land. The population needs a critical mass to enable the provision of ……’
a) This simply states a political message, that of government of the day. How does this message sit with any change of government and shift in possible priorities? Please supply written evidence and assessments

 

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b) Given the predicted duration of any development build phase, how will the ‘critical mass’ align with rising costs in an unknown world and potential the for escalating out of control i.e. new technology raw materials and unstable economies in rising markets? Please supply written evidence and assessments

 

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‘our shared vision’ who makes up the ‘our’?

 

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The open space in the new development in its current guise is quoted as 60%.
a) Does this include the quarry?

 

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b) What other areas of note make up the 60%?

 

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c) Are house gardens included?

 

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Councillor Hemsley quotes figures of 200 to 300 thousand new homes needed. How many homes could be built on the land being sat on by speculative developers?

 

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Councillor Hemsley says the minerals contained within the area of the base are unknown.
So why are there no test bore holes being drilled in the area designated for housing outside the runways? Then the minerals would then be known.

 

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The current Masterplan consultation for the redevelopment of St.George’s Barracks makes reference to two supporting pieces of work.
In section 6 there is a reference to a ‘high level transport assessment ‘; please provide me with a copy of this assessment.

 

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In section 7 there is a reference to ecological surveys that were undertaken in March 2018. Please provide me with a copy of these surveys. I also request copies of any reports that interpret and/ or analyse the surveys or any associated communication, be it by letter, email or other format that sought to clarify the surveys or their interpretation or raised questions (or provided answers) relating to the conclusions.

 

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I understand that there have been a number of meetings between Rutland County Council and/or the Ministry of Defence (and/or its agencies) and/or consultants working on their behalf and Historic England to seek advice in relation to the St.George’s Barracks redevelopment (including the old airfield) and the conservation of the Thor Missile Site at former RAF North Luffenham (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1400806).
Please can you provide me with the following information:
The dates of the meetings (and or any telephone or computer accessed conference calls) that have taken place to date in relation to the above. Who attended the meetings (and/or conference calls) and which organisation they were representing.

 

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Please provide copies of the agenda and any papers circulated before, during or after any of these meetings or conference calls.

 

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Copies of any minutes, file notes, emails or similar written or recorded information that provide a record of what advice was offered by Historic England and what was discussed and agreed (including any action points).

 

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Please provide copies of any email exchanges (or other form of written or recorded conversation) that have taken place as a result of liaison between the St.George’s Barracks Redevelopment Partnership and Historic England with respect to the Thor Missile Site at former RAF North Luffenham (or in relation to any other heritage features at this location).

 

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Please advise if the Housing Infrastructure Funding bid for the St Georges Barracks development bid documents can be released?

 

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Please advise if this bid is dependent upon a minimum number of houses being built on the site?

 

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At what stage during the development will the funding be released if the bid is successful?

 

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What funding sources have RCC MOD or Regenco applied for in relation to the consultation document that has been shared with local villages recently

 

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What is the present position regarding said funding.

 

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There is a large number of affordable sized housing on or around the MOD land at present, a large proportion of these seem to be empty already. Please state what proportion of the total are empty?

 

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When these properties are no longer required, why can’t they be rented out by MOD for local people who may need them?

 

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What appeal stages are available to local residents?

 

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Can any new “Local Plan for Rutland” be amended or overridden by the Secretary of State?

 

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Please advise how many valid responses you have received during this consultation exercise (about SGB development) ending on 15/6/18? Please also advise how many responses were in favour of the proposed development and how many were against?

 

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What amount of extra funding has Rutland County Council (RCC) applied for, and from whom, to assist with and as an encouragement to make this proposal? When will such funding be available and what conditions apply to any payment? Please also advise whether such funds are available for similar smaller projects and what the detailed scaled payments are?

 

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What monetary gain will RCC make from the disposal of any land by MOD at SGB?

 

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What costs have been incurred by RCC to date on this proposal and what anticipated expenditure and return is expected within the life of this project? Please detail agreed and anticipated budgets.

 

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Please advise whether RCC is claiming funds from other neighbouring authorities because of overbuilding its own requirement of extra housing and offering to sell their quota to those authorities struggling to meet theirs?

 

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Please advise what extra housing central government had asked RCC to provide during the next 30 years before it knew of this windfall of disposal of land by the MOD?

 

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What is the smallest number of properties that MOD will accept on this site? What is the MOD’s expectation of total income to be generated from the site, split between housing development income, heritage site retention (missile sites) income and mineral deposits extraction income?

 

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How many existing residential properties do MOD have control of (including those Managed for them under lease back arrangements) in the close vicinity to SGB (including all those in Pennine Drive, Chiltern Drive, Mendip Road, Severn Crescent, Weiland Road, Coniston Road, Crummock Avenue, Derwent Road, Windermere Road and Ullswater Road). How many of these properties are currently vacant?

 

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Is this period of consultation (ending 15/6/18) about the SGB proposals the last opportunity for residents to challenge the proposals or will there be more time to consider it in more detail? Please detail the timeline.

 

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lf RCC+MOD are minded to amend or halt the proposals In line with the Rutland’s population protests, when will RCC endeavour to incorporate any new plans into “The Local Plan For Rutland”? Will there be any further consultation on that plan and when will this start and end? What appeal stages are available to local residents?

 

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Can any new resultant “Local plan for Rutland” be amended or overridden by the Secretary of State?

 

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Has the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) been made aware of the proposal and proximity of properties to mining extraction facilities and if so what recommendations and/or stipulations have they imposed?

 

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Please advise how many valid responses you have received during this consultation exercise about SGB development ending on 15/6/18? Please also advise how many responses were in favour of the proposed development and how many were against?

 

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Please advise how a conflict of interest can be genuinely avoided when the RCC’s own planning department will eventually make decisions on its own council’s development proposals? Surely a neighbouring authority, with no gain or leverage interests on the development plan, should be asked to make completely independent planning decisions on a project of such importance and scale?

 

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We are interested in the protection of wild and natural habitat in and around Rutland Water especially in regard to any risk to wildlife, flora and fauna near Edith Weston that may be exerted on the surrounding countryside if and when St George’s Barracks redevelopment takes place as currently being proposed and under consultation? In this regard we understand that Natural England have undertaken and presented to RCC a survey of the possible effect, items for consideration and /or possible damaging aspects that any redevelopment may have on wildlife and so our question for Rutland County Council made under the Freedom of Information Act is as follows:
Could you please confirm that a recent survey (or surveys) have been presented to Rutland County Council or the MOD covering the above topic (whether by Natural England or any other such body)? If this is correct and/or reports and surveys have been received, could you please email copies of any such survey for our information please?

 

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On 7th August 2018 I received a letter from a Planning Advisor of Natural England informing me that Natural England have provided discretionary advice to consultants working on the St George’s Barracks/RAF North Luffenham development.
I should be grateful, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to receive details (ideally an emailed printed copy) of this advice, as well as details of any other communications between Rutland County Council (or its consultants) and Natural England relating to the St George’s Barracks/RAF North Luffenham development. I should also be grateful under this act to receive copies of communications between Natural England and the Ministry of Defence (dealing with the St George’s/RAF North Luffenham development) that Rutland County Council may have on record.

 

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A document was tabled at the meeting’ St Georges Advisory Group’ by Mr Newton in regards to housing need.

When will Rutland Councillors decide whether they want Rutland to grow organically or expand massively? What arguments are the Councillors going to adopt when the site gets to the planning submission/examination stage that are compelling to have such a massive excess of houses over and above what the Government expects of the Authority.

Cllr Gordon Brown stated that historically Local Authorities were required to go out and obtain a Strategic Market Housing Assessment. RCC’s was done on a sub-regional basis including South Kesteven, Rutland, Peterborough and Boston. The assessment over the last 4 years produced a range of 150 – 171. Cllr Brown explained that the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is clear and states to use the new formulate approach except those compelling reasons not to. Cllr Brown stated that many Local Plan’s objectively assessed needs are well below the formula identified in the new NPPF. Rutland’s objectively assessed needs states that Rutland County needs to do more. The number is based on the average house price and income. Cllr Brown explained that Rutland has a high proportion of people who have retired to Rutland with high pensions and a high number of people who are well paid which makes the average income for Rutland artificially high and the prices high which does not give you the actual assessed need for Rutland. Cllr Brown stated that 160 was the right number for Rutland under the old methodology. This was done prior to St George’s. Cllr Brown advised that Rutland had a demographic problem in its younger age group and housing needed to be provided for that group. Cllr Waller asked if the 160 was a figure across the other Authorities. Cllr Brown stated this was purely for Rutland.

A discussion took place in regards to the Quarry Farm site. Quarry Farm has 600 dwellings earmarked within the Rutland boundary. Cllr Brown and Mrs Briggs stated that the 600 dwellings would not work without the other part of the development due to not having the necessary infrastructure in place to support. Mrs Briggs explained that it was in Rutland’s best interests to work around the duty to co-operate to make sure that the school provision and the road network provision was appropriate for the whole of the site and not just Rutland.

1. Cllr Waller asked if the 160 was a figure across the other Authorities. Cllr Brown stated this was purely for Rutland. What are the figures for our neighbouring Authorities?

 

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2. Cllr Brown stated that 160 was the right number for Rutland under the old methodology. What is the figure under the current methodology

 

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3. If the proposed number of St G dwellings are built, If the houses are of the size identified (2/3 bedroom), If the houses are mixed stock to include shared ownership, starter homes and social housing, If the number of jobs needed are found within Rutland, what will the data do to the forecasting and that figure of 160?

 

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As a resident of Edith Weston I would like to have access to all the financial projections relating to the potential income to Rutland County Council throughout the life cycle of the planned scheme. So far there has been little or no information as to the financial reasoning behind this development but obviously with c 3000 houses paying the average council tax for the area, plus the normal payments to RCC when developing, I estimate that the income would have a material impact on RCC. I would like to see your projections, financials plans and how this might affect the future financial security of the county and the existing council tax payers.

 

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2. Cllr Brown stated that 160 was the right number for Rutland under the old methodology. What is the figure under the current methodology

 

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At the COUNCIL TAX, meeting on Monday, 25th February, 2019 7.00 pm
Question from member of the public:
“Tonight you will be considering the FY19/20 Budget in detail. Having attended the excellent Budget Briefing recently, I am aware how taut the Council’s Budget is and how much work has gone into its preparation. Bearing in mind the significant opposition from within the Council to the submission of an HIF bid in support of the proposed St George’s Barracks Development. Together with the staunch opposition to the scale of the proposed development made by the local Parish Councils through the SGB Advisory Group, the Parish Forum and the Parish Council Liaison Group; and most importantly the concerns of council tax payers of the County, who have expressed their very clear views through the media and indeed in person to the County Council at your last meeting. It is clear that there is a fervent appetite to challenge the County Council every inch of the way, over this development. It is quite clear that there will be legal challenges to your proposals, especially in respect of the proposed changes to the Draft Local Plan Spatial Strategy, consulted upon in August last year, which many consider to be fatally flawed and frankly indefensible and will therefore inevitably be subject to strong legal challenge. Can you please confirm the amount of the financial provision which has been made within the budget to fund such challenges and could you confirm that you consider this an appropriate use of the funds provided by Rutland Council Tax Payers.”

The response from Gordon Brown was:

“It would be very disappointing if residents decided to pursue a legal challenge regarding the process around Local Plan and waste both Council Tax payer’s money and those of the residents. Clearly the Council has and will take appropriate advice to ensure that are processes are sound and therefore reducing the risk of such challenges. It would be more productive for all concerned that the representatives from the community to spend time working with the Council and the MOD to minimise the impact of the development of this brownfield site rather than help lawyers make more money and put even more pressure on stretched Council resources. I would draw member’s attention to Big Page 135 paragraph 8 where this matter has already been addressed, however for the sake of transparency, the Council has included an additional £160k in its 19/20 to cover costs associated with the development of Local Plan, legal costs and examination.
The Council also has a legal budget of c£260k which funds legal advice required pertaining to all Council matters. It also has a further earmarked reserve for legal activities of c£150k which it can draw upon if required alongside over £9 million of General Fund balances. The Council has not put aside any specific amount for legalchallenges relating to the Local Plan but as already mentioned, it has significantresources and reserves it can draw upon if needed. It is right and proper that the Council uses its funding to deliver its statutory responsibilities. This can of course include dealing with legal challenges and other matters as part of due process as required by statute”.

1. What advice has been taken by the Council.

 

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2. What has been spent to date on legal costs by the Council, regarding the Local Plan in all its iterations.

 

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3. GB states ‘the Council has included an additional £160k in its 19/20 to cover costs associated … …legal and examination costs’, this suggests there is another sum to be drawn upon for legal and examination costs elsewhere. Please advise the sum and it’s location.

 

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1. Was Helen Briggs given any planning advice on, or prior to, her signing the MOU on Sept 9th 2017 regarding anything documented within the MOU?

 

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2. If so, what was the advice given?

 

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3. By whom was any such advice given?

 

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4. if there was no Head of Planning (or Acting Head of Planning), then then name of the person(s) responsible for any planning matters falling under the remit of RCC?

 

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5. Were any of the above points, 1 through to 4 minuted and / or recorded, if so please advise where the records are available.

 

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Can you provide the input / feedback from the MoD on alternative options for the St Georges Barracks site after they close it?

I note in the Report No: 18/2019 for the Full Council meeting on 21st January, the options below were listed as being rejected by the MoD – can you provide the documentation to the RCC from the MoD covering their rejection of these options

a. Return to agricultural use – rejected by MOD fails to assist in meeting housing targets and maximising receipt.

b. Transfer of land back to previous owners (Under Crichel Down provisions) – due process followed by the MOD and rejected.

c. Alternative energy site rejected by MOD fails to assist in meeting housing targets and maximising receipt.

d. Marketing as a leisure destination rejected by MOD fails to assist in meeting housing targets and maximising receipt.

e. Alternative Public Sector use e.g. by Ministry of Justice – no interest – rejected.

f. Creation of a new Garden Community – houses in the range 1,500 – 3,500 – preferred option (see section 6.4).

 

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Please accept the following FOI questions:

Extract from personal extemporaneous notes taken at St Georges Advisory Group Meeting 27 Feb 19 by Cllr P Cummings

Officer’s Mess Development.

The Chairman advised that having reviewed the financial figures relating to the Officers’ Mess development, that it was the view of RCC that when considering the Risk / Reward ratio that the Risks were, at present, simply too high for RCC to develop the site. Unless the financials changed significantly RCC did not intend to purchase and develop the site themselves.

1. What has changed in the financial figures that has caused RCC to have such a change of plan.

 

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2. Is RCC aware of any other preferred buyer who would buy the site.

 

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1. At what date did the first meeting take place between Rutland County Council and the Ministry of Defence (or its procurement Agents) on the subject of the ‘Partnership Proposal’ related to St. Georges Barracks?

 

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2. At what date did the first meeting take place between Rutland County Council and the Ministry of Defence (or its procurement Agents) on the subject of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ related to St. Georges Barracks?

 

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3. Who (names and titles) were present at the meeting referred to at 1 above?

 

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4. Who (names and titles) were present at the meeting referred to at 2 above?

 

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