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Future of St George's Barracks unveiled

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Ambitious plans to transform the site of St George’s Barracks have been unveiled by Rutland County Council.

Once the Army has vacated the 300-hectare base, it will become the site for a multi-million pound redevelopment which will see a garden village created with up to 3,000 new homes built by 2050.

Oliver Hemsley, leader of Rutland County Council, said: “This is a very large site. It’s 300-hectares - to put that in to some perspective, Oakham is 300-hectares. This represents us with the ideal opportunity to create a new village from scratch.

“There is a national housing crisis and it is important for us to that the new homes earmarked for St George’s meet a wide range of different needs, and that a large percentage of them are truly affordable. By that I mean they will be a mixture of social housing, starter homes and retirement living, as well as custom builds.

“This mixture of housing is important for the county as it means we will have a means of allowing younger families to stay in Rutland.

“Of course, the buildings need to reflect the character of Rutland, and we will ensure that local materials are used to create a community that will stand the test of time.

Under the plans, 14-hectares of the site have also been earmarked for employment, and it is hoped this will create a job per house.

Oliver Hemsley said: “We are looking at attracting a broad spectrum of businesses to the site, businesses which will appeal to, and attract, the county’s young. By doing this we can hopefully keep young families in the county, and positively influence our demographic.

“Of course, we need the public’s involvement to make this happen, but the potential of the site is big.”

The plans also feature a wide range of community assets including a relocated and enlarged Edith Weston Academy, shops, a health and well being centre including a GP surgery, a country park, a heritage zone around the Grade II listed Thor missile launch pad, extensive open spaces and a buffer zone between the surrounding villages.

Public transport will play a major in the development, and stakeholders are exploring improving the existing provision in the area.

Oliver Hemsley said: "We are looking at improving the frequency of the No. 12 bus service between Uppingham and Stamford, and improved linkage with the No.9 service between Oakham, Stamford and Peterborough, for which an improved frequency could also be provided.

"In time, there may even be an opportunity to provide a railway station near North Luffenham, on the line between Birmingham and Stansted Airport.

The scheme will also see extensive mineral extraction from the site.

Oliver Hemsley said: “St George’s is located above a large quantity of nationally significant mineral deposits, and the extraction of this takes priority over any future development opportunities.

“These minerals are located on the eastern part of the site, and although this limits the proportion of the site that can be developed for housing and business in the short and medium term, the land that is safeguarded for minerals would eventually be made available once extraction is complete.

“However, the extraction of minerals is not likely to begin for ten years, and this will be put out to tender.

David Weeks, Hansen Cement spokesman, said: “This is very much a long-term plan. We already have a few years’ worth of reserves in place. We are looking to develop these but in the long-term we are well placed to exploit the minerals from the St George’s site.

“High quality limestone is a very valuable material – Ketton cement is literally enabling the UK’s development, without it you wouldn’t see anywhere near the level of development that’s going on in London for example.

“We will holding talks with the relevant parties about how we can develop the site, and we have the infrastructure in place to keep disruption to a minimum – a lot of our products are transported by rail.”

The plans will be held at a series of workshops throughout the county and all the information used at these event will be made available at www.stgeorgesrutland.co.uk with the option for people to share comments by post or the dedicated website.

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