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RAF Coltishall could be sold within days

PUBLISHED: 14:23 03 December 2012

The former RAF Coltishall air base. Picture; MIKE PAGE

The former RAF Coltishall air base. Picture; MIKE PAGE

Archant

The former air base at RAF Coltishall could be in the hands of Norfolk County Council within days, council leaders have revealed.

The council is on the brink of buying the 600 acre site from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), following the closure of the former Battle of Britain air base in 2006.

Bosses at County Hall say it could be used to create hundreds of jobs and bring in revenue for the council.

Councillors said in the summer they hoped to secure a deal by the end of September, but there have been delays in completing the purchase.

However, at a meeting of the county cabinet today, it emerged the authority and the MoJ are hoping the contract to buy the base will be signed and exchanged this week, possibly by the end of Wednesday.

Cliff Jordan, cabinet member for efficiency, read a letter from the MoJ which stated all the contract documents are agreed and contract exchange just has to be finalised.

The letter stated “the complex nature of the transaction” meant it had “taken longer than anticipated to agree the contract details”, but that the signed contract was likely to be available by the end of Wednesday.

It added: “We are confident that the outcome offers both the MoJ and Norfolk County Council the best possible value.”

The council has yet to reveal what it will pay and has yet to draw up a master plan or business case, but the cash will come from the Norfolk Infrastructure Fund.

The council has indicated it would like to see much of the base leased for farming, with some housing and the creation of business units.

At yesterday’s meeting, the cabinet agreed to set aside a further £1.5m for infrastructure improvements, marketing and a master plan.

But Steve Riley, chairman of Badersfield Residents Campaign for the Protection and Development of ex-RAF Coltishall, said he did not believe any amount of infrastructure improvements would convince businesses to set up there, when it is so far from major roads.

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