St. George’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid – FAQs
What has been the outcome of the St George’s HIF bid?
Rutland County Council and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) have been successful in bidding for national Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) funding to support the possible future redevelopment of St. George’s Barracks.
The joint HIF bid was submitted in March 2019 with the intention of securing forward funding to deliver critical infrastructure like improved roads, transport, schools and healthcare, all of which are required to meet the needs of local communities.
The HIF bid was based on the latest version of the St. George’s Evolving Masterplan, which sets out proposals for how the site could be redeveloped after it is vacated and closed by the MOD.
Why did the St. George’s project bid for HIF?
The St. George’s project is a joint initiative between Rutland County Council and the MOD to look at possible options for the future of St. George’s Barracks after the base closes.
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.
The UK government has a target to release enough public land for a potential 160,000 new homes by 2020. The intention is that redundant MOD sites like St. George’s will be used 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 make sure the site is taken forward in a way that balances the government’s ambitious housing agenda with the needs of our local communities to develop a new Garden Community at the site.
What does this mean for the St. George’s project?
Housing numbers and the provision of suitable infrastructure around St. George’s have been big concerns for our local communities. We share these same concerns and sought HIF funding in order to be able to improve local roads, schools and healthcare facilities ahead of any new development.
How much has been received and how will this be spent?
We have been awarded £29.4million of HIF funding. Subject to Councillors accepting the funding, this money would be used to ensure appropriate and timely investment in infrastructure is put in place, including upgraded roads and junctions, new healthcare facilities and public transport.
Does this mean the redevelopment of St George’s will be going ahead?
HIF is not a guarantee that redevelopment will go ahead. There are still lots of independent processes that must be followed to decide whether future development at the St. George’s site is permissible.
Rutland’s Local Plan Review will determine whether St. George’s is included in the County’s next Local Plan. This will decide if the barracks are included on a long list of sites where the building of new homes and businesses should be focussed in Rutland over the next 20 years.
Similarly, planning permission would be needed before any development is allowed to take place at St. George’s. Rutland’s Planning Committee is an independent body and must assess all applications in isolation, based on national planning policy and what is included in our Local Plan.
Councillors also need to decide if we will accept the award of HIF funding and this will depend on whether there are any conditions attached to the funding.
How does the award of HIF funding affect Rutland’s new Local Plan?
The Local Plan is an important document because it guides where new homes and other forms of development should be built and plays an important role in determining planning applications.
Local Planning Authorities like Rutland County Council must have an up-to-date Local Plan which sets out planning policies and guides future development within their area.
The Local Plan has to be reviewed on a regular basis and continually updated as local housing and employment needs change. Deliverability is a key consideration that influences whether a particular site is included within the Local Plan. Because infrastructure is critical to the success and sustainability of any development, the award of HIF funds, if accepted by Councillors, would make proposals for the possible future redevelopment of St George’s much more viable and deliverable.
When will Rutland’s new Local Plan be finished?
Rutland’s existing Local Plan is currently being reviewed because it is due to expire in 2026 and must be updated to reflect recent changes in national planning policy. The new plan, once complete and adopted by the Council, will cover the period up to 2036.
Rutland County Council is currently assessing public feedback on a draft of its new Local Plan. This was feedback gathered during an additional round of non-statutory consultation that focused specifically on the potential redevelopment of St George’s and its impact on the relevant policies and proposals set out in the 2017 Consultation Draft Local Plan.
The draft Local Plan is expected to be discussed by Rutland County Council’s Cabinet on 19 November 2019. If approved, it will then be submitted for review by the independent planning inspectorate. There will then be a chance to comment on a full version of the Local Plan before it goes to the Secretary of State for approval.
What next for HIF?
A report noting the award of the successful HIF bid will be presented at Rutland County Council’s next Cabinet meeting on 19 November. A decision on whether to accept the funding will be made by Full Council at a date to be confirmed and following December’s general election.
The decision over Rutland’s HIF bid will determine whether there will be funding available to deliver infrastructure improvements around St. George’s but not whether the site itself is brought forward for development. The MOD’s national directive is clear and they have stated that they will seek to redevelop the St George’s site regardless of HIF funding.
The Agenda and Reports for all Rutland County Council meetings are published online in advance of the meeting date and can be viewed at: www.rutland.gov.uk/meetings.
What conditions are attached to the funding?
It is not yet known what conditions are attached to the award HIF funding. However, once confirmed, this will be an important part of the considerations when Cabinet and Full Council come to review the HIF award.