Friday, January 11, 2013
The former air base at RAF Coltishall is now in the hands of Norfolk County Council, after the authority bought it for £4m.
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.