Race to decontaminate potential site for Norwich homes and swimming pool

Mile Cross depot. Picture: Google

Mile Cross depot. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Council bosses looking to build houses and, potentially, a swimming pool in Norwich are facing a race to get the site decontaminated or they could have to pay almost £1m back to the government.

Norwich City Council Labour leader Alan Waters. Picture: Ian Burt

Norwich City Council Labour leader Alan Waters. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Norwich City Council is looking to demolish the former Mile Cross depot to make way for hundreds of new homes, and possibly, a new leisure centre.

But first, the site needs to be decontaminated and the controlling Labour cabinet at City Hall is tomorrow (Wednesday, December 12) due to agree the process which will see the contract awarded for demolition and clearance of the site.

The council has set aside just short of £2m for that work, with £980,000 coming from a grant awarded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

However, the terms of that grant means work needs to be completed by the end of 2019, or City Hall will have to pay it back.

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The council is keen to get work started and has set a target of January 14.

Companies tendering to do the work have said it should take three to six months, so council bosses are optimistic the grant will not be lost.

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The decontamination work is estimated to cost £1.2m.

Officers say, in a report to councillors: 'The site will be cleared of all abandoned materials and equipment, asbestos will be removed under controlled conditions and built elements will be demolished, including the removal of above and below ground fuel tanks.'

Contaminated soil will be removed and a soil protection barrier installed, along with a special membrane. Officers say that will create a 'blank canvas' for redevelopment.

The council is considering wether to redevelop the land itself, or whether to sell it to an outside developer.

The cabinet has already agreed to a £200,000 feasibility study into whether a leisure centre could form part of the redevelopment.

The site used to be the council's City Works depot.

More recently, it was the Mile Cross Business Centre.

Council leader Alan Waters recently said the council might consider if the site could be excused from paying the community infrastructure levy - a sum of money paid by developers to go towards the likes of roads and schools.

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