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Letter from Cllr Waller in the Rutland Mercury

February 9, 2019 11:13 PM
Originally published by Rutland & Melton Liberal Democrats

4 February 2019

Dear Editor

I write in response to a letter from Cllr Gordon Brown in last week's Rutland Mercury. Cllr Brown is correct when he says the site at St George's Barracks needs to be included within the Local Plan, and that a planning application will have to be made and planning granted before development can take place. He is also correct that the site, because it has been developed by the MoD in the past, is a brownfield site and therefore there is not the barrier to new development that there would be on a greenfield site. However he is being disingenuous to suggest that the bid for Homes Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money is not "tantamount to waving through a development" at St George's.

Homes England has already provided Rutland Council with funding to support the work needed to build a case to submit the HIF bid. Homes England officers have worked with RCC officers to help make the bid become the best it can. Would a government agency invest time and money in helping RCC put a bid together if they thought a development might not subsequently go ahead? And if RCC are successful in the bid, would government allocate c£29m to a detailed project that might subsequently be fundamentally changed? Of course not! RCC's council report of 21 January 2019 stated "work on the HIF submission…based on the 2,215 number of homes…..This work has been essential to support the conclusion that the 2,215 figure is the optimal number…" so clearly the government's expectation is that 2,215 homes will be built on the site, and if HIF funding is forthcoming it will be for at least 2,215 homes.

Yours faithfully,

G. F. Waller, Liberal Democrat

Councillor, Normanton Ward, Rutland County Council