The former air base at RAF Coltishall is now in the hands of Norfolk County Council, after the authority bought it for £4m.

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The council has completed the controversial deal to snap up 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 to bring in revenue for the council, although the precise detail of what they intend to do with the base has yet to be finalised.

However, 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.

The council had previously agreed to spend £1.5m on infrastructure improvements, marketing and a master plan for the site.

Cliff Jordan, cabinet member for efficiency, said: “It has been a long and challenging road to get to the stage where we are now, but I am delighted that we can now announce that the county council has bought the site and we are ready to realise its long term potential.

“I am convinced that the price we have paid for the site represents excellent value for money for council taxpayers and that, over time, it can generate a very useful income for the authority.”

Rival bidder Bruce Giddy, managing director of the Hans House Group of Companies, had wanted to create a 250-acre solar farm, to create a heritage centre and aviation museum and to offer a home to engineering and aircraft-building firms.

Mr Giddy, and other critics, have questioned why the county council is making such a significant purchase without a published business plan.

25 comments

  • Great - the council are failing in their core services and now they think they have the skills and resource necessary for this development? What a scandal... How are they allowed to spend out money without a plan on how they are going to generate revenue with it?

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    Dave B

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • I agree with MrB. Then we might get an "international airport" in the true sense of the word! But it would need good, professional and entrepreneurial management.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Nope, the real reason is politics. Tory-run council acquires asset from Tory-led government department. Say no more. In the new 'commercial' NCC world, if they don't cover it in wind turbines and solar panels to generate revenue and in turn drive down my council tax bill, well I will be mildly disappointed. With any luck Hans House will go for a judicial review.

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • I don't think NCC have quite grasped the difficulties in transforming RAF bases to farming, I am ex MOD and part of an old job was to transform a Norfolk airfield to housing, quite simply it couldn't be done due to contamination, undiscovered electrical cabling and unknown WW2 trenches. Hans House would have been great for the site, thier plans open and transparent. I feel sorry for the good people of Badersfield, what NCC have in store for the site could be disasterous. Still, in May, (hopfeully) justice will be done and those ignoramus reposnsible for ruining the county will get thier P45....

    Report this comment

    d, west lynn

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • So NCC underbid Hans House by £100k. Surely the MoJ should have taken the higher bid. So why didn't it. And will NCC ever come clean on the total cost. We know that you have to add on the £1.5m cost of improving access. But the terms of sale would also have involved NCC in agreeing to separate all of the services to HMP Bure from the rest of the site. Hans House had budgeted over £1m for the cost of that becasue of the uncertainty of what they would discover when the work was put in hand. I bet NCC does not even have a figure in mind.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • The ballot box must ensure that this can never happen again Norfolk County Council must change. The Norfolk taxpayer is at least 4 million out of pocket when a private company would have fully funded the purchase and development of the site. Scandalous missuse of public funds.

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    Canary Boy

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Maybe Hans House group ought to offer NCC £4.2m..instant 'profit' and more money than NCC likely to make running the site themselves. Would be good to see the figures if a FOI request is done - bet it wasn't £4m...I'd put a hefty bet onit being a lot more.

    Report this comment

    Hoohaa

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • If it is the case that NCC purchased the site for £4 million then there has to be an enquiry against NCC and MoJ. As the MoJ are in such a state financially, why did they not accept the higher offer from a private bidder with a sound business plan? This stinks and the ombudsman must be involved to find out who, if anyone has profitted out of this apparent wrongful deal!

    Report this comment

    Commander500

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • makes my blood boil how crooked this Council appears to be. RIP Heritage of RAF Coltishall. RIP memory and heritage of all of those who served there. RIP peace and tranquility of us residents who live there. RIP safety of the local quiet country roads that we walk and cycle on. RIP democracy. For the first time since the base closed the grass outside the main gate was cut back this week. Will our Jag be coming home? No, it was for the PR spin and fat councillors to stand on for photos and interiews, looking all smug at a 'job well done'. Hope you walk in the dog s~~~ whilst you are there!

    Report this comment

    jaybaxter

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Could it be the new Norfolk Incinerator that very few people want?

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Whatever the rights and wrongs of the county council buying RAF Coltishall, there is only one reason why a lower bid was accepted. That will be because the higher bid wasn't credible, despite the claims of the bidder himself, and those who seem willing to echo those claims without having the faintest clue about the detail. If NCC had bid more, then we would never have known, but the fact it was well below the Hans House bid tells me all I need to know.

    Report this comment

    Tom Jeffries

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Whatever NCC do with it NORSE will be involved and that gives fat cat profits to its directors so have a look and see who they are. I hope Bruce Giddy takes action against NCC over this and the MOD, who probably have the same internal set up as Defra, individuals with large pockets. Just like he was with the incinerator deal, Mike Jackson is hidden away from public view in the background again and will be unaffected by elections in May. If the rest of Norfolk's County Councillors don't unite together and do something soon, the County will be in dire straights, step forward someone strong enough with enough moral fibre to do the right thing, to take over as leader - and no Borrett, you don't qualify.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

  • Democracy has died a death again........ councilors do what they like without our permission..... Stalin could not have done a better job !

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • it should of been the new site of Norwich airport as its runway is significantly longer which would have enabled larger aircraft to land which in turn would mean increased air cargo traffic and long haul flights, it could have easily been paid for by sale of existing airport for housing development would have made significantly more sense as the existing airport has nowhere to expand so cannot grow into a true international transport hub for the region and will remain limited for the foreseeable future.

    Report this comment

    MrB

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Could it be the new Norfolk Incinerator that very few people want?

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • I get a scarey feeling they do have a plan for this site, something unpopular otherwise they would have announced it.

    Report this comment

    Marigold

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Democracy has died a death again........ councilors do what they like without our permission..... Stalin could not have done a better job !

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • I wonder who the land will be rented to? A relation of a cabinet member by any chance? Of course it will be a fair tender process as always.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • If it is the case that NCC purchased the site for £4 million then there has to be an enquiry against NCC and MoJ. As the MoJ are in such a state financially, why did they not accept the higher offer from a private bidder with a sound business plan? This stinks and the ombudsman must be involved to find out who, if anyone has profitted out of this apparent wrongful deal!

    Report this comment

    Commander500

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • There is a rather interesting camp site next to the base which I will be keeping an eye on!

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • It just goes to prove that despite all the cuts NCC have money to burn and that's probably what's going to happen to it as they simply don't have the business sense to make something of this land. This was clearly demonstrated only a few days ago when David White (chief exec) ask to be made redundant because he didn't have the commercial experience to take the council forward. Just what are these people doing and let's hope that this dictatorial lot are called to account in May by the electorate.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • makes my blood boil how crooked this Council appears to be. RIP Heritage of RAF Coltishall. RIP memory and heritage of all of those who served there. RIP peace and tranquility of us residents who live there. RIP safety of the local quiet country roads that we walk and cycle on. RIP democracy. For the first time since the base closed the grass outside the main gate was cut back this week. Will our Jag be coming home? No, it was for the PR spin and fat councillors to stand on for photos and interiews, looking all smug at a 'job well done'. Hope you walk in the dog s~~~ whilst you are there!

    Report this comment

    jaybaxter

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Pass them a rope and fetch their steed - YeeHah

    Report this comment

    Hoohaa

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • So NCC has paid some 4 million to buy Coltishall airfield from the MOD, who took it off farmers in the run up to the great second unpleasantness. Did Norfolk taxpayers wanted them to buy it for us? I doubt it, nor did they want an extra 1.5 million spent on improving access to the site. Hanse has a legal case against NCC now, how come the MOD preferred the NCC's bid without a business plan?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Is it going to be turned into a golf course so Norfolk can compete with Breckland, who already have one?

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Friday, January 11, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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