Councillors rule out plans to move Norwich Airport to RAF Coltishall

Conservative councillors insist they have no intention of moving Norwich Airport to RAF Coltishall.

Norfolk County Council's Tory cabinet yesterday backed their own multi-million pound bid for the former Battle of Britain base.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has selected the council as the preferred bidder for the 600-acre site.

But neighbours are concerned about what will happen to the site, with a confidentiality agreement between the council and MoJ stifling the emergence of exact details about the bid.

Several protesters attended yesterday's cabinet meeting to call for more consultation with those people who live nearby.

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It is feared the runway could be dug up with the material - or aggregate - being used to build the city's northern bypass.

And the county council, which is a shareholder in the airport, said there are no plans to relocate the airport from Amsterdam Way.

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Rumours have previously circulated that the former RAF base would be a good site for any potential move.

But Ian Mackie, the council's deputy leader, said: 'We can rule out this at this cabinet meeting, we've no plans to move Norwich Airport in any shape or form to RAF Coltishall.'

The authority has indicated it would like the majority of the land to be used for agriculture, with the council's own tenant farmers leasing land.

They added former air force buildings could be converted into about 65 homes and other buildings, such as refurbished hangars, which could be offered to small or medium sized businesses to buy or rent.

Money for the bid, which is valued at several millions but not tens of millions, will come from the Norfolk Infrastructure Fund.

But Steve Riley, chairman of the Badersfield Campaign Committee for the protection and development of ex-RAF Coltishall, said he did not understand how a decision could be taken on purchasing the site without full disclosure of the MoJ discussions.

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