Senior Conservatives back Norfolk council’s multi-million pound RAF Coltishall bid

Senior Conservative councillors have today backed multi-million pound plans to buy RAF Coltishall.

Norfolk County Council has been selected as the preferred bidder for the 600-acre former Battle of Britain base by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

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

Several protesters attended today's county council Conservative cabinet meeting to call for more consultation with those people who live nearby.

But cabinet members insisted the council's offer was accepted as private companies had failed to meet the MoJ's criteria in the last six years.

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

David Harwood, cabinet member for adult and community services, added the project will not deprive other council services of money.

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The county council today agreed in principle to support the bid.

The MoJ's decision to put forward the county council's proposal came as a blow to the Hans House Group of Companies, which has outlined plans to create a heritage centre and museum at the base.

No masterplan has been drawn up by the council for the land, although councillors said consultation with residents would take place.

The authority has previously indicated they 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.

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