Confidential City Hall deal aims to get Norwich’s aviation academy off the ground

An atist's impression of Norwich Aviation Academy

An atist's impression of Norwich Aviation Academy - Credit: Archant

A secret deal is to be struck at City Hall to help get the £12m aviation academy at Norwich International Airport off the ground.

The engineering complex at the airport is designed to make the city a centre of the aviation industry and was first unveiled in 2013.

The project secured £3m of government funding in January and last month Norfolk County Council agreed to approve a loan of £6.25m to its commercial arm Norse, so a building can be refurbished to house the academy.

And, at a meeting of Norwich City Council's cabinet tomorrow, councillors will be asked to give the green light and agreement to assure smooth progress for the scheme.

The Labour-controlled cabinet is set to agree a deal which will mean the academy can operate on land jointly owned by City Hall and the county council, for a peppercorn rent.

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The business case for the Norwich International Aviation Academy, a joint project between the city and county councils, Norwich International Airport, KLM UK Engineering, City College Norwich, the University of East Anglia, New Anglia LEP and the Aviation Skills Partnership rests on that peppercorn rent.

While the decision on whether to allow the peppercorn rent is due to be made in public at tomorrow's meeting, details of the location of the site and the financial implications are deemed to be commercially sensitive. That means those parts of the discussion will be held behind closed doors.

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The academy would initially focus on aviation engineering, then gradually expand its remit to train the pilots of the future, as well as provide training in ground crew operations, air traffic control, cabin crew training, operations and planning.

The academy is due to be opened in September next year.

What do you think of the plan? Write, with full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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