Environment & Heritage
LANDSCAPE & ECOLOGY
Ecological surveys were undertaken across St George’s Barracks in March 2018. These found that the ecological features within the developed barracks area, Officers’ Mess and golf course have limited biodiversity value. Based on the information collected to date, it is likely that any re-development within these parts of the site would be able to provide adequate mitigation and/or compensation, hence there would be no significant ecological constraints to re-development.
The disused airfield has been shown to be important for breeding and passage birds. It has been classified as potential Local Wildlife Site. The grassland communities are also likely to be classified as a Habitat of Principal Importance. For these reasons, the airfield has been assessed as being of county value. Opportunities will exist within the masterplan to re-create or reinstate the grassland areas following minerals extraction, as well as improving biodiversity.
Rutland Water lies to the north of the site, and holds the multiple designation of Special Protection Area (SPA), Ramsar Site and Site of Special Scientific Interest. Rutland Water is of international importance.
Any re-development of St George’s Barracks would need to ensure that there is no adverse impact upon the integrity of the SPA. Careful consideration will need to be given the potential impacts with adequate avoidance measures put in place.
A quantity of limestone is present beneath the eastern half of St George’s Barracks, which may impact upon phasing, as the extraction of minerals on the site is protected.
The plan above shows the location of limestone within the site. The area identified as a heritage zone around the listed Thor Missile launch pads will be excluded from minerals extraction. The extraction of minerals from the site is not likely to begin for around ten years.
The 1928 historic map illustrates the historic field pattern that was lost due to the development of the air base. The character of the area has witnessed the transition from an agricultural landscape to an empty expanse of airfield.
The runways are one of the most significant structures of the Barracks. They date from 1944 but have been overlaid on many occasions and are in a poor condition. Consequently, it is the line of the runways, rather than their physical fabric, that contributes most to the site.
1928 HISTORIC MAP
- A THOR MISSILE BEING TRANSPORTED TO NORTH LUFFENHAM
- THE LISTED THOR MISSILE LAUNCH PADS
Through the creation of a new community, potential exists to restore the landscape by reinterpreting the historic field pattern. It is also important that the military legacy is not forgotten, and the runways form a strong feature of the site.
The preservation of the Thor Missile area enhances the significance and value of St George’s Barracks as an important educational resource, and it is proposed that a new cultural attraction is created.