Airbase land must be kept for public

A Norfolk MP has called for RAF Coltishall to be placed in public rather than private hands, as plans to sell off the site moved a step closer. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will next week send out marketing packs to “a number of parties” which have shown an interest in buying the redundant 750-acre plot.

A Norfolk MP has called for RAF Coltishall to be placed in public rather than private hands, as plans to sell off the site moved a step closer.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will next week send out marketing packs to "a number of parties" which have shown an interest in buying the redundant 750-acre plot.

However, Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk - whose constituency includes Coltishall - has called upon the East of England Development Agency (Eeda) to make the most of the opportunity provided by its sale.

He wants the agency to buy the land and work with local authorities to dispose of it piecemeal while ensuring that any developments are in the best interest of the public.

Mr Lamb said he was concerned that if the former airbase was allowed to fall into the hands of a private developer, its potential will not be maximised. "Even if they don't want to purchase it, I think Eeda should at least explore the opportunity, which they have failed to do," Mr Lamb said.

"It could open up numerous possibilities and it would give us and the public more control over the longer-term future and ensure the development meets the public need."

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No one from Eeda was available for comment.

However, the organisation has previously said that as a member of the task force responsible for looking at the issue, it "remained committed" to finding the best solution for the future use of the RAF Coltishall site, although it was too early to say what the solution would be.

A spokesman from Defence Estates, which handles MoD buildings and land, said that some prospective buyers had already emerged.

"Formal marketing of the site will begin on October 14," the spokesman said.

"We have already received some expressions of interest and we expect several more to come in over the next few weeks.

"At the end of the month we will have more of an idea about the potential future of the site," he said.