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Plans to spend £23m Levelling Up fund in Rutland and Melton leap forward

By Robert Alexander - Local Democracy Reporting Service

10th Jul 2024 | Local News

Council have awarded contracts. Image credit: Nub News.
Council have awarded contracts. Image credit: Nub News.

Plans to spend £23 million of Levelling Up money in Rutland have taken a leap forward.

Rutland County Council's cabinet met on Tuesday 9 July and agreed to award construction contracts for a sustainable transport hub and a medical technology research centre, both of which will be based in Oakham.

The cabinet also gave the green light to business plans and agreed to award a commission for the conservation of the Ichthyosaur – otherwise known as 'The Rutland Sea-Dragon' – so it can be showcased in a digital visitor experience alongside the remains of a 4th Century Roman villa.

It will also enter into a legal partnership to transfer ownership of the dragon from Anglian Water, which owns Rutland Water where it was found, to the council.

This partnership was explained by Penny Sharp, strategic director of places, who told councillors: "Anglian Water own the Ichthyosaur; it was found on their land and therefore they are the owners.

"However, in order to conserve it and publish research papers in relation to the conservation process, and the Ichthyosaur itself, it has to be part of an authorised collection.

"As Rutland County Council hold an authorised collection at the museum, we have the ability to incorporate the sea-dragon into our collection, enabling the research to be published.

"The partnership with Anglian Water recognises their desire to showcase the sea-dragon, so once incorporated into the museum collection, we will loan it straight out again to Anglian Water which makes them entirely responsible for its upkeep and maintenance."

The sustainable transport hub, which Rutland County Council is calling a 'Mobi-Hub' will be built at Jules House in Cold Overton Road, which link all forms of transportation in the county and focus on routes between Melton and Oakham.

Meanwhile, the 'Medi-Tech Centre' will be developed at Oakham Enterprise Park and cabinet members also agreed to negotiate a lease for the centre.

Coun Tim Smith (Lib Dem) said: "In respect of the Medi-Tech centre, I understand we have certain obligations which we must fulfil before March 2026 – will there be enough time to complete all of these?"

Council leader Gale Waller (Lib Dem) confirmed there would be enough time.

In January 2023, Rutland County Council and Melton District Council found out that they would share £23 million of Levelling Up funds. Councillors agreed last March how to distribute Rutland's share of the Government cash.

     

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