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St George's Barracks - speech by Cllr Waller

January 22, 2019 8:17 PM
Originally published by Rutland & Melton Liberal Democrats
Gale WallerAfter two and a half hours of debate the decision (12-11) by Rutland County Council last night was to submit a Homes Infrastructure bid to support the development at St George's barracks. When complete it will be larger than Uppingham.
Our councillor, Gale Waller, opposed. Here is her speech as spoken.

St George's

Good evening, for members of the public my name is Gale Waller and I represent Normanton in which St George's is situated. For members of this Council what I am about to say I say not as a ward councillor but as someone charged to represent the interests of all Rutlanders.

Not putting forward this bid will notstop us working with the MOD. What we have before us is a proposal to create a new town of some 5,000 to 6,000 souls. Our policy to date has been to see housing development in our towns and larger service centres but if we agree to the Master Plan before us we are changing our policy. No more will Uppingham, Empingham, Ryhall, Ketton, Barrowden etc. see modest and sustaining development; allour development until 2036 will be at this new town unless we build more than the 160 a year we need. Further, we will also be giving the green lightto future towns. So, not only are we approving this town but we are saying yes to a town at another brownfield site as well. Do we really want Rutland to grow by 20 thousand people -53% over the next 20 years?

We have been told that approving the HIF fund isn't the same as agreeing the project. Frankly that is nonsense. How many of your parishes apply for grants for amenities such as children's play equipment only to turn down the grant once they see the conditions? Of course they don't! Like all grant awarding bodies Government has outlined the conditions of the grant how else do we know what the minimum housing numbers they are looking for to satisfy HIF funding? RCC has invested significant time and moneyto put this grant together and Homes Englandhas also invested time to help our officers write the best application possible. No-one invests this time (3-4 months) or money (£130k) only to change their minds once they've received grant approval. How stupid would RCC look if we did that? What credibility would we have in future with the Civil Service or, indeed, our LSP partners? If we agree the HIF bid tonight, barring a dramatic change of grant conditions we could not possibly envisage now, we are agreeing to build 2315 housesin and between Edith Weston and North Luffenham. And if you look at the details of the Master Plan the density alone won't give us a typical Rutland village but another Oakham extension.

Do we want a 50% increase in Rutland's population over the next 20 years?

Do we want a town which is little more than a housing estate next to Rutland Water? (I can't guarantee shops, pubs, leisure companies being interested in the site in our current economic climate, can you?)

Do we really think this proposal is Right for Rutland?

I wantto see the site developed, but developed in a manner in keeping with the scale and style of Rutland. A new town, bigger than Uppingham, is not that!