The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Council and the MOD sets out how the partnership will work together. A small amount of information within the MOU and its annexes is redacted (covered from view) because it remains commercially sensitive. This means it could give an unfair advantage to a future developer if it was published now:
MOD / DIO Statement
St Georges Barracks was declared surplus to operational requirements in the ‘A Better Defence Estate’ Ministry of Defence announcement – November 2016. This announcement also provided an anticipated vacation date of 2021 for the resident Regiments – 1 Military Working Dogs and 2 Medical Regiment.
St George’s Barracks comprises two sites – the 4 hectare Officers Mess site and the 300 hectare main barracks. Both are designated in planning terms as Brownfield sites. They have been declared surplus to requirements and in this circumstance the MOD engage with local Council’s to discuss options for the future of the sites.
Historically this has included the following options:
- Hold the site for potential MOD reuse
- Transfer the site to another Govt Dept (e.g. MoJ to develop a prison)
- Sell on the open market
- Sell on the open market with planning permission in place
- Enter into a Joint Venture with an industry partner to explore the redevelopment potential
The MOD has very clear national objectives set by HM Government (Treasury). They are as follows:
- £1 billion target for land sales set in Spending Review 2015
- Contribute to government target of 160,000 new homes by 2020
It is anticipated that the St George’s site will make a contribution to these targets.
Following the announcement Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), who manage the MOD estate, engaged with Rutland County Council to explore the future opportunities for the barracks. During these discussions there was an opportunity to explore alternative options. RCC were keen to work with DIO to have the opportunity to have some influence over the site in the future and proposed the creation of a innovative, alternative way forward.
The proposal was that under the auspices of a memorandum of understanding the MOD and RCC would enter into a public / public partnership to bring the site forward supported by a shared vision for the site. This would deliver housing and land sales receipts for the MOD but at a density and feel of development that would be in keeping with the scale of the site in a Rutland context. It allows RCC to have significantly more involvement in the creation of the Masterplan for the site and the options for the best disposal strategy, and to be part of the project whole site/whole life.
This way of working is the first of its kind in the Country. Its takes the concept of Public / Public partnership further for a site like St George’s than the MOD have adopted before. The partnership will work closely to achieve a solution that codesigns the best outcomes for delivery of housing, supporting infrastructure, commercial development and leisure and recreation.