Level of interest in former RAF Coltishall base revealed

A bird's eye view of the former RAF Coltishall air base.Picture: Mike Page.

A bird's eye view of the former RAF Coltishall air base.Picture: Mike Page. - Credit: Archant

The level of interest from companies keen to move onto the former RAF Coltishall base is 'really encouraging', according to council bosses who spent millions of pounds buying the site.

Norfolk County Council paid £4m to buy the former Battle of Britain station in January, bringing to an end long-running negotiations over its future.

The purchase was controversial, with critics questioning the wisdom of making such an outlay without a business plan.

The council has said it is still coming up with ideas for what to do with the base and had asked people for suggestions, ahead of drawing up a masterplan this summer.

Possibilities include returning some land for farming, offering buildings to businesses and selling part of the site for housing.

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Tim Edmunds, Coltishall project sponsor at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We have been really encouraged by the level of interest we've received from businesses, community groups and individuals since taking ownership of the former RAF Coltishall site.

'We have received around 40 suggestions about how the site, or parts of it, could be used in the future via our dedicated email address FutureofRAFColtishall@norfolk.gov.uk and we continue to receive suggestions from residents and businesses – both local and from outside the county.

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'There has also been interest from around 10 businesses looking to take space at the former base, in particular engineering and manufacturing companies, as well as storage and distribution businesses and we are considering each suggestion individually.

'At the moment we are speaking with a small number of companies about taking their business proposals forward and hope to have some positive news regarding developments in the coming weeks.'

The council is also working with Cold War experts from the University of East Anglia and English Heritage over how to make the most of the rich military heritage of the site, possibly through a heritage trail.

Rival bidder Bruce Giddy, managing director of the Hans House Group of Companies, had bid £4.1m for the base. He wanted to install a 250-acre solar farm, to create a heritage centre and aviation museum and to offer a home to engineering and aircraft-building firms.

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