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Ex-RAF homes to be sold off

PUBLISHED: 09:35 12 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

RICHARD BATSON

Scores of former RAF homes at the doomed Coltishall airbase will be sold off later this year.

Just under half the 342 married quarters will come on the market as the station marches towards closure by Christmas.

Scores of former RAF homes at the doomed Coltishall airbase will be sold off later this year.

Just under half the 342 married quarters will come on the market as the station marches towards closure by Christmas.

And the church is also ensuring the changing community has a helping hand at its heart, by appointing a clergywoman to look after the newcomers' needs.

Annington Homes, which owns the houses, yesterday confirmed that 157 properties had been "earmarked for release later in the year."

It was too early to say what work needed doing to the homes, or what they might cost, as a full appraisal was being done in the next few months, said a spokesman.

The company bought the Coltishall quarters among 57,600 homes acquired from the Ministry of Defence in 1996, for leasing back as service accommodation. When the homes - which were normally two or three bedroomed and suitable for first time buyers and key workers - were no longer needed, they were usually improved and sold off. Incentives included paying the 5pc deposit and money towards legal and survey fees.

In May they sold 29 former MoD homes near Norwich airport, which were snapped up within hours of going on sale, with three quarters of the purchasers being first time buyers, many of whom had camped out for three weeks to get dream homes starting at £114,950.

The swift sell-off of the homes was welcomed by MP Norman Lamb, who has been keen to ensure they did not stand empty for years as happened at RAF West Raynham. He understood a further 200 homes would be released next year.

North Norfolk District Council's housing cabinet member Margaret Craske also said anything

which helped ease the local

affordable housing shortage.

And local district councillor Cyril Durrant, who also chairs an action group looking at the future of the base, was confident there would be a demand for the housing.

"It is sad going around the quarters and seeing all the removal vans at the moment, but it is good they are being sold quickly, and hopefully the changeover will be fairly seamless."

Hundreds of Coltishall's personnel have already left for other postings, while a "draw down" team clears and prepares the station for closure. Owners Defence Estates are due to market the base in September, having identified exactly what is for sale, and its potential future uses.

In the meantime the Church of England has appointed the Rev Elizabeth Bailey to look after the base's changing population.

The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, said the sale of the married quarters could result in a new community of 1000 people.


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