NEWS RELEASE – 29 May 2018
For immediate release
25 May 2018
PRESS RELEASE For immediate use
Urgent ‘Have Your Say’ plea to Rutlanders amid fears that barracks plan will create a dormitory town for commuters
Two parish council chairmen have warned that the plans to redevelop St George’s Barracks could create a dormitory town for commuters or a sink estate with no hope for many of its largely imported residents.
They have urged the people of Rutland to “raise their voice” in a concerted effort to alert Rutland Council Council to their concerns. The deadline for returning feedback forms been extended by two weeks to 14 June.
In a joint statement issued this week, Paul Cummings, chair of North Luffenham Parish Council, and Norman Milne, chair of Edith Weston Parish Council, have accused RCC’s leaders of selling out the future of the county without the full council having a say in what should happen to the barracks site when the MoD leave in 2020/21.
“The Cabinet and Executive have decided that it isn’t necessary to discuss their proposals through the normal democratic forum until the decisions are all finalised and planning permission is sought,” the statement says. “Indeed, only a limited few councillors had sight of the proposals before they were presented to the public, in what looked remarkably like a fait-accompli. The future of the county has been sold-out, based on some very suspect assumptions and a need to reduce the current growing budget deficit. As has become clear in recent weeks, we have been faced with a changing story of the scale of the development, which is likely to continue to grow unless the public raises its voice in a concerted way and says that enough is enough.”
They believe the proposed new town in the heart of the county on the edge of Rutland, Water would dwarf Uppingham in scale and there are fears that the whole development could eventually grow to the size of Oakham. “This has been hidden under the sobriquet of a ‘Typical Rutland Garden Village’. However, what is planned at present are first 70 homes as soon as possible on the Officers’ Mess site, then 3,000 on the main site within 10 years and finally a further 500 once the minerals have been extracted. And this new town won’t even look like Rutland. The proposal includes terraced houses, three-storey town houses, apartment blocks and properties without gardens. What impact will all this have on all future planning decisions in Rutland’s villages and towns?”
The pair have urged every Rutlander to view the proposals in detail and “look beyond the platitudes and vague promises for a better future”, to the reality, which will be a huge urban sprawl dumped in the centre of a rural community, bringing an estimated 7,000 cars onto our roads with little to address the issues of access to the A1, A47, A606 and A6003, let alone the choke points at the North Luffenham Rail Crossing, Manton Top, and Edith Weston village. “Much is promised in respect of infrastructure funding.
However, the Government’s money tree is unlikely to provide sufficient funding to do all that is required to deliver the promises made,” the statement adds.
A huge quarry of some 350 acres –almost half the site – will be a blight on the landscape for the next 30-40 years. Largely hidden in the latest glossy brochure, the area is euphemistically shown as a ‘Country Park’.
The statement also questions the feasibility of RCC’s promise to create 3,500 new jobs. “To date, Rutland’s success in attracting high value employment to this rural county has been entirely ineffectual, and the vast number of our qualified young people inevitably migrate to our cities and major industrial conurbations,” it says. “Rutland is what it is – a beautiful rural county whose major industries are tourism and agriculture. The proposal to build over 1,000 ‘affordable’ homes sounds good, but the local authority cannot create jobs and it makes no sense to industry to create jobs in the heart of an industrial desert. There is a real danger that RCC will inadvertently create a dormitory town for commuters, or a sink estate with no hope for many of its largely imported residents.”
It is time, the chairman say, to “smell the coffee” and to force RCC to understand the real concerns of those that it represents. “A development of this size will affect us all and needs to be rethought in every detail. Please take the time to read the presentations and make your view heard – it will affect you both directly and indirectly. Please respond to RCC’s consultation by 14 June using the feedback form provided in the consultation pack or on-line at: https://www.stgeorgesrutland.co.uk.”
Issued by: North Luffenham & Edith Weston Parish Councils Joint Working Group
For further information or comment, please contact:
Paul Cummings, chairman, North Luffenham Parish Council
(H 01780 720124 E: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Norman Milne, chairman, Edith Weston Parish Council
(H: 01780 722005 M: +44 7712 001001 E: email@example.com)