Councils ready to accept deal to sell their stakes in Norwich Airport

Councils are set to sell their remaining shares in Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page

Councils are set to sell their remaining shares in Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

Norwich Airport is on the brink of becoming entirely privately owned, with the city and county council set to sell their remaining shares in the transport hub they set up.

The opening of Norwich Airport in May 1970. Photo: Archant Library

The opening of Norwich Airport in May 1970. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council are next week likely to agree an offer from airport owner Regional and City Airports to sell the 19.9pc stake the authorities still have in the airport.

The amount of money the two councils, which created the airport after buying the site in the late 1960s, will get for selling their remaining shares is confidential at this stage.

In 2004, Omniport paid Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council £11.1m for an 80.1pc stake in the airport.

That deal meant County Hall received £3.9m and the city council got £2.6m.


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But the county council kept 9pc, Norwich City Council 6pc and Legislator 1656 Ltd, an arms-length company jointly owned by the two councils retained 4.9pc.

The airport's current owners approached the leaders of the two councils and directors of Legislator to offer to buy the shares in February.

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Negotiations have been taking place since that date, with the airport owner's initial offer based on an independent valuation produced by GVA Grimley Ltd in 2017.

The councils commissioned Lovewell Blake to draw up their own valuation report, which said the shares were worth more than the original offer.

Officers say further negotiations have led to a revised offer, submitted by the airport's owners in June. Council officers say they believe that offers value for money.

Decisions on whether the councils will sell their shares will go to the city council's cabinet on Wednesday next week and the county council's meeting on Monday, July 15.

The deal includes cash for the two councils, but also a legally binding agreement which means, for the next 15 years, meetings will take place twice a year between the airport owners and the councils "to exchange information with each other relating to the current performance and future development of Norwich Airport to support the objective of having a successful airport in the region".

The money the councils get would be used on future capital projects.

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