Rutland County Council’s Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Panel met last night (Thursday 11th October) to review and discuss progress being made to bring forward the St. George’s Barracks for redevelopment, after its closure by the Ministry of Defence in 2020.

The Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Panel, made up of seven councillors, received questions from members of the public and a presentation from Mr Paul Cummings, who represented the St. George’s Advisory Group. There were also presentations from the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Regenco and Rutland County Council – the three bodies that are working together with residents to shape the future of the site post disposal.

Mr Cummings, through his presentation, repeated concerns, currently being addressed through the development of the Evolving Masterplan, with the number of houses being recommended. He also re-articulated misgivings about the process and working arrangements adopted by Rutland County Council and the Ministry of Defence to develop and present options for the future redevelopment of the Barracks, and recommended that alternative uses be considered for the site.

The Ministry of Defence’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation explained that it has over 100 sites due for disposal across the country and a Government requirement to deliver approximately 55,000 homes. The MOD also stressed that they have considered a range of options for the site and they are listening to resident views and concerns, as exemplified by the recommendations, which have been developed following the informal public consultation in the summer, which are being used to shape the Evolving Masterplan.

Councillor Oliver Hemsley, Leader of Rutland County Council, commented after the meeting:

“We understand that residents have concerns about the redevelopment of the site, and are worried that we are neither listening to nor acting on those worries. I want to assure residents this is not the case and implore our communities to maintain the dialogue with us so we can ensure, together, that the redevelopment of the site releases the greatest opportunities for Rutland.

“The MOD has, tonight, made it clear that they would seek to redevelop the site whether we were engaged or not. Through the partnership we adopted in 2017, we are ensuring that both the Council and Rutland’s residents have the chance to shape what is proposed for our county and that it is truly right for Rutland.

“It has struck me this evening that this scrutiny meeting is only taking place because of the St. George’s partnership, and residents have had far greater visibility and input into the proposals than would have been possible through an MOD only process.”

The Evolving Masterplan, Local Plan and the Council’s proposed bid for the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund – which would enable infrastructure for the St. George’s site to be delivered in advance of development – will be presented to Full Council on Monday 26th November 2018 for approval.