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East Anglia Future 50

Why these derelict buildings remain empty on a Norwich industrial estate

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

They were once home to dozens of employees, but today these empty buildings lie derelict on the Norwich Airport Industrial Estate.

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

And with another major employer on Hurricane Way announcing the closure of its facility, yet another unit is facing a similar fate.

Now, owners Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council are considering the future direction of the estate, and what is required in terms of investment.

At present, there are six empty units along Hurricane Way and Anson Road.

They include the Eagit Training Centre, which shut in 2014 after more than 40 years of operating, and Guardian Fire, which, according to Companies House, went into liquidation in 2012.

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

But that figure could increase in the coming months after Baxi Heating UK announced its Heatrae Sadia site at Hurricane Way would close this year, with 204 jobs at risk.

The company said production of water cylinders and heaters would move to Preston.

Meanwhile, Norfolk police had also proposed to close its Hurricane Way station and relocate to Bethel Street in the city centre.

Other derelict units on the estate include one previously occupied by Elite Cleaning Services and another that was once used as a cash and carry.

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

It is not known when or why they closed, but both sites have become overgrown with vegetation.

City councillor Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources, said: "There has been a decline in the manufacturing industry for decades, not just at the industrial estate.

"The estate goes back to a period after the Second World War and industry and manufacturing has changed dramatically since then.

"We [the city and county council] are looking towards renewing the estate so it is more conducive to the needs of the modern industry."

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

While the industrial estate is jointly owned, the city council is responsible for its management via NPS Norwich.

A city council spokesman said while there are some "good quality" buildings on the estate, some do require substantial investment to attract new tenants.

"The councils are considering the future direction for the estate and its investment requirements," the spokesman said.

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