December 20 2013 Latest news:
By DAN GRIMMER
Thursday, November 29, 2012
An extra £1m will need to be spent to improve the roads and other infrastructure around RAF Coltishall if the former air base is bought by Norfolk County Council, it has emerged.
Council leaders will be asked on Monday to agree to set aside £1m for those improvements, plus a further half a million pounds to draw up a master plan and to market the base to potential tenants and developers.
The council announced it wanted to buy the site from the Ministry of Justice this summer, following the closure of the former Battle of Britain air base in 2006.
Bosses at County Hall say if the council buys it, the base could be used to create hundreds of jobs and bring in revenue for the council.
While that deal has yet to be struck and the price tag the council intends to pay is still not publicly known, officers are asking the county council’s controlling Conservative cabinet to set aside an extra £1.5m for infrastructure, marketing and the creation of a master plan.
The council has yet to draw up specific plans, but has indicated it would like the majority of the 600 acres site leased for farming.
Former air force buildings could be turned into homes, while other buildings could be offered to businesses to buy or rent, with a heritage trail of the base’s history.
The £1m, which would be drawn from the Norfolk Infrastructure Fund, would be used in a range of ways, including upgrading road access and public utilities, making the site’s heritage available to the public, providing community woodland and carrying out contamination surveys.
Cliff Jordan, cabinet member for efficiency, said: “We have always promised we would protect local residents as far as possible from extra traffic that will be generated as the base comes to life in the longer term, while at the same time making the base attractive to businesses.
“The proposed level of investment proves we are deadly serious about making sufficient funds available to properly develop the site in the years ahead and we are suggesting a full review of the highway network be carried out.”
He said, if the council is successful in buying the site, a master plan will be drawn up for its future use.
The report also asks the cabinet to allocate £572,500 from within the council’s overall underspends for 2012/13 to fund work to draw up the master plan and to market the opportunities the council says the base will create.