Frequently Asked Questions

What is the St George’s Project?
The St George’s project is a joint initiative between Rutland County Council, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and other local partners to look at possible options for the future of St George’s Barracks after the base closes in 2020/21.
Why is St George’s Barracks closing?
St George’s Barracks was announced for intended disposal by the MOD in November 2016 through its Better Defence Estate announcement, which is part of the MOD’s strategy to rationalise the Defence Estate.

The army will continue to be an important part of the local community and options for the relocation of units currently occupying St George’s Barracks remain subject to assessment. These include potential relocation to the Defence Animal Centre at Melton Mowbray and Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore.

What is the basis for the partnership between the Council and MOD?” _builder_version=”3.2.2″]As a large brownfield site, St George’s Barracks is expected to be redeveloped in line with national policies around the creation of new homes and the use of redundant MOD land once the army leaves.

The UK government has a target to release enough public land for a potential 160,000 new homes by 2020. The intention is that MOD sites will be utilised for housing and other development, with money from land sales invested back into the Armed Forces.

The partnership between Rutland County Council and the MOD aims to make sure that any future development on the site is controlled, sustainable and meets local needs.

We want to ensure the site is taken forward in a way which looks to balance the UK government’s ambitious housing agenda with the needs of existing local communities and the Rutland environment.

Who is involved?
Rutland County Council and the MOD are leading the St George’s project by way of a unique public/public partnership. We also have the support of several other organisations, including: Greater Cambridgeshire Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP), East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group (ELRCCG), One Public Estate and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Moreover, we are actively engaged with a range of wider stakeholders, from conservation groups to utility companies.
What is being proposed?
The MOD and Rutland County Council are currently developing a High Level Masterplan for St George’s. This follows on from early discussions with local groups and organisations who have an interest in the site and will set out the main aspirations for St George’s.

Our goal is the creation of a new ‘Garden Village’ with the right mix of housing, enterprise, leisure and recreation. This would be a long-term project with phased development of the site over a period of 10-15 years. Plans will focus on the quality of development, rather than quantity, with appropriate housing density, detailed plans for each phase/area of the site and ensuring the right infrastructure is put in place well before the site is occupied.

Consultation around the High Level Master Plan for St George’s is due to take place in May 2018.

What is a ‘Garden Village’?
Garden Villages are holistically planned new communities where design, landscaping, open space and the public realm are prioritised and considered vital to the overall success of the development.

With regards to St George’s, the homes we hope to create would be at a density that is appropriate for the location, with a mix of house sizes to suit the widest possible range of housing needs.

The community would include affordable housing, social housing, retirement living, custom build and starter homes. As appropriate, the homes would aim to provide a non-estate environment and would include gardens, garages and sufficient off-street parking provision.

Designs would also aim to feature all aspects of a rural village such as a community hub, a pub, a post office, a village shop and a village green. It will be supported by sustainable public transport, schools, superfast broadband, appropriate road infrastructure, leisure facilities and access to employment.

How many new homes would be provided?
This has not been decided and will be determined following the outcome of master planning. However, we are working with a preliminary figure of 1,500-3,000 properties based on the size of the site (300 hectares) and the desire to provide homes at a density that is appropriate for the location, in accordance with relevant Local Plan Polices.
What is meant by ‘appropriate’ housing density?
Rutland’s existing Local Plan policies state that, in order to make best use of land and minimise development of green field areas, larger new developments of 10 dwellings or more in our villages should have a density of 30 dwellings per hectare.
How does St George’s fit in with the Local Plan?
To date, it has not been possible to make any allowances for St George’s in the Consultative Draft Local Plan, because we don’t yet have enough detail as to the scale, nature and timing of any development proposals and how they might contribute to the assessed needs of Rutland.

However, provisions are currently being made with respect to the Local Plan process which will ensure the next iteration of the plan is able to take full account of St George’s.

Will there be new health and education facilities to support the growth in population?
Yes. Our partnership has agreed that putting appropriate infrastructure in place early is a top priority for any redevelopment.

As a result, the St George’s project will be frontloaded to ensure infrastructure needs are identified and met prior to the site being occupied. This includes physical infrastructure like roads, public transport and utilities – all of which have already been engaged in the early stages of the project. It also includes social infrastructure such as healthcare, education, local amenities and community facilities.

How will improvements and enhancements to local infrastructure be funded?
The Council and MOD are seeking to utilise the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which offers £2.3billion to deliver new physical infrastructure that supports new and existing communities (infrastructure such as roads, transport, schools and healthcare).

It was confirmed 21st March 2018 that our bid for HIF funding will go forward to the second stage of a two-stage process, meaning we remain in contention to receive a proportion of this money.

Stage two of the HIF bidding process involves the development of a business case to support the proposal for funding before a final decision on the allocation of funding is made in summer 2018.

When will the development start and finish?
We do not want the St George’s site to be left vacant for any significant period of time as this can create problems for local communities. We therefore hope to begin development as soon as the site is disposed of, this is currently scheduled for 2020/21.

The development of St George’s will be a long-term project and is expected to take place over 10-15 years, following the closure. An area of the site is also safeguarded for minerals extraction and will need to be managed over a much longer period.

How would the minerals extraction work?
St George’s Barracks is located above a large quantity of nationally significant mineral deposits, the extraction of which takes priority over any future development opportunities. Although this limits the proportion of the St George’s site that can be developed in the short and medium term, land that is safeguarded for minerals would eventually be made available again in future years once extraction is complete.

It may be 20 years before minerals extraction would need to begin and a further 10 years to complete the process. The master planning process will help to show how safeguarded areas might be utilised, both before and after extraction.

Has the environmental impact of any future development been considered?
We are acutely aware of how important it is to protect and preserve the environment as part of any redevelopment of St George’s Barracks. As a result, the Council and MOD are actively engaged with groups such as Natural England, Historic England, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust.

We will continue to involve these groups and others throughout the master planning process.

Will the development be part of Edith Weston or North Luffenham?
St George’s will be a new settlement and not an extension of any existing community. With this in mind, the Council has already begun to consider what new provisions may be needed in relation to community governance.

The Officers’ Mess which serves St George’s Barracks but sits apart from the main base would likely be developed as an extension to the existing village of Edith Weston.

What is being proposed for the Officers’ Mess?
The Officers’ Mess is a brownfield site adjacent to St George’s Barracks but entirely separate from the main base. It has been proposed that the Council acquires this site and takes it forward for development outside of the main St Georges project. This would allow the Council to set standards around design and build quality which could help to inform the main St George’s project. It would also bring forward housing that could be built quickly – around 70 homes by June 2023 or earlier if the army are able to vacate St Georges or the Officers’ Mess before 2021.
How can members of the community get involved?
Having launched our partnership in September 2017, some community engagement has already taken place around St George’s in order to understand the aspirations and concerns of local communities, businesses, schools, Parish representatives and anyone else who has expressed an interest in the project.

Work to develop a High Level Masterplan for the St George’s site has been ongoing, helped by feedback that we have already received from local people and groups.

These first high-level plans will go on show to the public from 11th May 2018 with events taking place around the county so you can see and comment on these early proposals: