St George’s Barracks

St George’s Barracks

A community for life

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In November 2016, the Government announced through ‘A Better Defence Estate’, a commitment to invest in a more efficient built military estate that will reduce in size by thirty per cent by 2040.

Within the announcement, it was confirmed that St George’s Barracks, a 300 hectare brownfield site in Rutland, would be surplus to operational requirements and programmed for disposal, to support the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in maximising value through the disposal of sites and  provide land for 55,000 dwellings.  In recognition of this, Rutland County Council and the MOD agreed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly explore the opportunities for the future of the St George’s Barracks site and work together in a new and innovative way to deliver Government growth and efficiency objectives for the site, and ensure that development of the site is sustainable and right for Rutland.

St George’s Barracks

The barracks was originally built as a training airfield, opening in 1940, and during WW2 became a heavy bomber base. In 1951 it was transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force, before returning to the RAF control in 1959. Between 1959 and 1963, North Luffenham was the base for PGM-17 Thor missiles, and their launch pads are now a Grade II listed part of the site. The RAF continued with various uses of the site until 1998, when it was taken over by the British Army and was renamed St George’s Barracks.

St George’s Barracks
St George’s Barracks
St George’s Barracks

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A unique situation existed at St George’s Barracks, where the site was in freehold ownership by a public sector organisation, enabling the uplift in land value to be captured for the local community and invested in the provision of new facilities, and where the local authority was providing strong leadership and advocacy of a garden community and were willing to engage in helping to realise the vision. These are two principal elements required for the creation of a garden community, providing the transformation of St George’s Barracks with the opportunity to deliver a new neighbourhood which is true to garden community ideals on a village scale.

St George’s Barracks
St George’s Barracks
St George’s Barracks

Rutland is the smallest historic county in England and contains just two towns, Oakham and Uppingham, and as a result the scale of new development needs to be carefully considered. St George’s Barrack’s 300-hectare expanse provides the perfect opportunity to create a large new village, which will help to meet the day-to-day needs of those existing communities located nearby, whilst not competing with the existing settlements.

The Barrack’s legacy is both a physical and social one. Physically, its use has meant that the character of the area has witnessed the transition from an agricultural landscape to one occupied by built form sitting on top of a localised ridge. Socially, local infrastructure has been utilised by the military workforce and tranquillity has been diminished by road and air traffic. The green infrastructure has been managed to suit its military function, lacking in biodiversity and richness of landscape character. The Grade II listed PGM-17 Thor missile area is a key military legacy component, alongside the runways, and as such their integration was a key design driver.

Collaborative engagement was an integral part of the process of iterating and communicating the masterplan and proposals for the future of St George’s Barracks. A structured programme of both stakeholder and public consultation was undertaken throughout the development of the masterplan. The objective was to ensure the active, meaningful and continued involvement of the public, local communities and stakeholders throughout the planning process, to support the development of a final masterplan that responded to the local community and had a sense of place and character.

St George’s Barracks

This was undertaken through a variety of mediums including a media, leaflets, member briefings, public exhibitions, roadshows, stakeholder and local community workshops and focus group sessions, one-to-one meetings with stakeholders as well as a dedicated project website.

St George’s Barracks offers the opportunity to:

  • Provide a compact new community of 2,215 homes, making most efficient use of brownfield land
  • Create a 125 hectare country park serving an important ecology and biodiversity function, as well as offering a range of recreational activities
  • Capture land value uplift to pay for high quality public realm, services and upfront infrastructure – and allow better quality homes at lower costs
  • Integrate airfield features within the masterplan, including the line of the runways and their associated tracks
  • Protect a listed Thor Missile site within a heritage and ecology zone
  • Create a network of foot, cycle and bridleways throughout the site
  • Provide a new primary school early in the development process
  • Provide a 5 hectare business zone located around those existing business on the site, with a further 9 hectares of employment provision integrated within the new community
  • Establish substantial new woodland and other habitats, alongside local food production
  • Enhance the tourism offer for which Rutland is renowned, particularly given the proximity to Rutland Water
  • Address capacity issues by making available a ready supply of land to SME builders, self-build, housing associations, overseas housebuilders, institutional investors (for the private rented sector) as well as the existing large housebuilders
  • Protect historic towns and villages across Rutland from being ringed by endless poor quality and unpopular housing estates.
St George’s Barracks

The final masterplan provides a considered design response and is underpinned by a robust baseline assessment and provides the evidence base for a policy on the redevelopment of the site for the Local Plan. The vision is for a new ‘Community for Life’, a place where its residents live, work and socialise. It was designed in accordance with the principles of a garden village and the regeneration takes a ‘whole life, whole site’ approach.   Consequently the site was allocated within the Local Plan and went on to be awarded £30 million of HIF funding.


Site allocated




300 hectares

Partners & collaborators

  • RegenCo
  • CampbellReith
  • BBP Regeneration
  • Daedalus Environmental
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