Councillor claims Broadland “kept in the dark” about Norfolk County Council’s RAF Coltishall bid
06:30 29 June 2012
A local authority was “kept in the dark” about council plans to buy the former RAF Coltishall base, it was claimed last night.
Norfolk County Council is pushing ahead with a multi-million proposal to buy the Battle of Britain site after being named the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) preferred bidder.
News of the county council’s offer was revealed on May 31. But Broadland District Council said it had had no consultation with the county council about the proposed bid by June 13.
This answer was provided after Dan Roper, Spixworth with St Faiths councillor, had tabled a question at last night’s full council meeting.
He was told discussions were now ongoing between Norfolk, North Norfolk and Broadland councils about future planning applications that may come forward if the sale is completed.
Mr Roper told councillors: “I am actually delighted with a straight answer to a straight question on this matter, which perhaps some of our Westminster representatives might make a note of when they go on national television.
“Does the leader share my disappointment Broadland was kept in the dark on the this issue?”
Stuart Clancy, economic development portfolio holder, did not directly reply to that question but did confirm “joint working” between the three local authorities was now taking place.
Norfolk County Council’s cabinet has previously said it had to abide by MoJ confidentiality agreements as part of the bid, which has stifled the emergence of exact details.
Mr Clancy added last night: “I think the county council purchase of RAF Coltishall site will bring a degree of certainty to that site.
“We’ve seen in Norfolk over the last 20 years two sites - RAF West Raynham and RAF Sculthorpe - both of which have had a chequered history.
“RAF Coltishall closed in 2006 and there was not a satisfactory bid on the table.”
Mr Clancy said the county council is moving toward creating a masterplan, which will include full consultation with parish councils and residents.
He added: “I think it’s a great step for Norfolk, a great step for this area, the main reason is it brings continuity to the areas. We don’t want to see it remain dilapidated or be a massive cost on the public purse.”