Tight timescales force grant rejection

By Dan Peters | 12 April 2021

A new garden village featuring more than 2,000 homes has been thrown into doubt after Rutland CC turned down £29.4m it had bid for successfully.

The council had secured the Government cash to help fund infrastructure improvements for the proposed future redevelopment of St George’s Barracks.

But, with the Ministry of Defence still not having given a definite date for leaving the site, councillors voted not to accept the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant, partly due to a Homes England condition that all the infrastructure being funded had to be completed by March 2024.

In a letter to a local newspaper, Lib Dem councillors wrote: ‘If HIF had been accepted Rutland CC would have been the accountable body and thus responsible for ensuring it was spent according to the terms laid down by Homes England.

'This meant a planning application for the St George’s site would have had to be submitted and approved, the infrastructure completed and house building underway all by March 2024.

‘The council would have been legally liable should any delays have happened and Homes England thus required repayment of the HIF money.

'The deadline of March 2024 was sacrosanct.

'Given this timeframe, with its potentially unachievable deadlines, we felt this was too great a risk for the county; to repay it all would certainly have bankrupted us!’

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