Heritage watchdogs object to move to dig up part of Coltishall runway

The ends of Coltishall runway which are earmarked for ripping up to make into rubble.  Picture: MIKE PAGE The ends of Coltishall runway which are earmarked for ripping up to make into rubble. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
6:30 AM

A question mark has been placed over proposals to redevelop the former RAF Coltishall base, after heritage watchdogs objected to proposals to dig up part of the runway.

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Norfolk County Council bought the base for £4m in January last year and hopes to recoup some of its investment by removing the ends of the runway and using an estimated 140,000 tonnes of aggregates for road improvement schemes, such as the £19m Postwick Hub junction near Norwich.

The decision on whether to grant planning permission for the ends of the runway to be dug up rests with the council, but English Heritage has written to the authority urging it to turn down the application, which has been submitted by council contractor Lafarge Tarmac.

The letter says: “English Heritage considers that the removal of these runway extenstions would neither preserve, nor enhance, the character or appearance of the conservation area, but would result in harm to this, and the designated blast walls within the base.”

English Heritage say, on the basis of the information submitted, the application should be refused, because it would “result in harm to two designated heritage assets, namely the RAF Coltishall Conservation Area and the Scheduled eastern grouping of Cold War era blast walls”.

The letter adds that, although the southern grouping of Cold War era blast walls are not a designated heritage asset, they are “demonstrably the equivalent of a Scheduled Monument”.

They argue that removing parts of the runway would “change our understanding of the designated blast walls and therefore would result in harm to their significance.”

The letter says national planning policies require “great weight” to be given to conserving designated heritage assets and that harm must be “weighed against any wider public benefits”.

It continues: “Given the degree of harm that would result from this proposal, English Heritage would expect that a high level of public benefit would be required to outweigh that harm”, before adding it is “unclear” from the application what is proposed to address that.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “A report is being drawn up for members to consider next month and we continue to encourage people to respond to the planning application. Members of the public have up to March 20 to give their views.”

The application will be considered by the county’s planning sub committee on Friday, March 21, while Scottow Parish Council will hold a meeting at St Edward’s Church in Badersfield tonight to discuss the future of the site.

15 comments

  • Simple, no aircraft, no runway! Use it as it is or redevelop it, but don't moan that nothing is being done if you object to all the plans (the RAF aren't coming back).

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    KeithS

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • A big lost opportunity and a complete lack of ambition has been shown by all the relevant parties by not using Coltishall as an airport.

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    John L Norton

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Sell it, immediately, to Hans House. Mr Giddy KNOWS what to do with it, council idiots, clearly don't and should never have bought it it the first place

    Report this comment

    Windless

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • I never heard the residents of Badersfield complain when the airfield closed and the noise from the planes was removed and the value of their houses increased because of this.

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    DaveG

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • For pity's sake why on earth preserve a runway that is never going to be used as a runway again? NCC have got it right, for once.

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    peter waller

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Did NCC fail to take professional advice on the extent to which the site's well-known Conservation Area status would hinder specific developments before they speculated with public money and purchased it? What Dan Grimmer fails to go on to say is that English Heritage is now considering whether to give the whole of the runway listed status to protect it completely.

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    Nemesis

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • I never heard the residents of Badersfield complain when the airfield closed and the noise from the planes was removed and the value of their houses increased because of this.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • Turn it into a drag strip. Nelson County Raceway has a nice ring to it. Similar to Shakespeare County Raceway.

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    Lord Elf

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • This is to proof that NCC is not the only potty organisation, what a ludicrous suggestion to list concrete runways that might never be used again. Recycling makes sense, but not via the route proposed, for all the reasons already mentioned. Thats what happens when you got no proper business plan. Sell it and use the money for services. I heard a rumour that Richard Branson is interested to set up a green airship travel company to Europe, Coltishall would be perfect for such a new idea.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Mores the pity!!

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    Dick

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • A big lost opportunity and a complete lack of ambition has been shown by all the relevant parties by not using Coltishall as an airport.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • What about the huge fuel tanks that are under Coltishall? Are the County Council going to find these the hard way when one of their diggers vanishes into the ground?

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    alecto

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Although this raises quite a separate issue from that dealt with by English Heritage, could I ask whether those who recommend removing 140k tonnes of runway material have considered the impact on the residents of Badersfield when it comes to transporting the stuff away? For six days a week over a period of eighteen months they will have HGVs rolling past their fronts doors, the doors of their school and the door to the local shop simply because this is by far the cheapest route for the contractor. Apart from the risk of accidents, they will be subjrected to noise, dust and dirt. Should they want to move during that times, they will find their houses unsaleable. And they will realsie that amny promises made to them in the bast will be brokjen. Why cannot some of you consider the wider effects of these proposals? As I have done, go and drive the route. You will see what I mean.

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    Nemesis

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Why on earth would we want another airport? Dig it up and make some use of the asset.

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    The man on the Clapham Omnibus

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • The people of Badersfield did not complain that the base closed, because when the base shut it did not actually exist. Badersfield is a new community, the residents bought the ex MOD houses after the base had closed, and a new community that stands up for itself was formed. So please get your facts correct thank you.

    Report this comment

    Goofybrit

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

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