Council agrees Norwich Airport Industrial Estate sell-off
- Credit: Archant
Plans to sell off a council-owned industrial estate have been agreed by cabinet members, but concerns have been raised about the loss of income.
Norwich Airport Industrial Estate, south of the Norwich International Airport, is jointly owned by Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council.
On Monday, Norfolk County Council (NCC) cabinet discussed plans for the future of the 48-hectare site.
Rent from the estate is split 60/40 between the county council and Norwich City Council, earning NCC around £436,000 between 2019-20.
Greg Peck, cabinet member for commercial services and asset management, said both councils have considered how best to maximise the potential of the industrial estate.
“Several joint commissioned reported have realised that for the site to achieve its full potential for tenants, businesses and the creation of future employment, investment is required,” he said.
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Mr Peck added: “To increase the rental income would require significant investment by Norfolk County Council.
“Officers from both councils have reviewed the information available.
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“They have decided that the disposal is the most advantageous route to secure the success of the estate.”
Mr Peck acknowledged there would be a loss of rental income but said the borrowing costs would outweigh the income and the council does not “follow a strategy of borrowing money to create income”.
In a question to the cabinet ahead of the meeting, the Labour opposition leader Steve Morphew asked what would be done to make up for the loss of income.
Mr Morphew said: "Why is the council proposing to sell rather than invest when borrowing rates are low in order to promote income generation, new businesses and new jobs in one of the more deprived areas of Norwich?”
The cabinet member responded that NCC is working closely with the Labour-led city council, who will also be considering the site’s future.
He said: "I would be happy to arrange a meeting with him to discuss how we are investing capital receipts into creating new jobs, new educational facilities, and growth into economic opportunities – for example in Great Yarmouth supporting new environmental technology."
Cabinet members agreed to declare the estate as “surplus to county council requirements” and instruct the property director to dispose of it.
Norwich City Council will be discussing the plans on Wednesday, July 7, however, it is expected the public will be excluded from the meeting.