Council-owned Norwich airport industrial estate to be sold off

The empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

File picture of an abandoned unit at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. - Credit: Archant

A council-owned industrial estate is to go on sale as part of a bid to boost the local economy.

Norwich Airport Industrial Estate, which sits to the south of Norwich International Airport, is jointly owned by Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council.

The proposed sale is due to be presented at both council’s cabinet meetings in early July and would see the 48-hectare site put on the market.

Reports commissioned by both councils have indicated there is a clear opportunity to grow business activity, jobs and income from the site.

But they concluded this would require significant capital investment and external commercial expertise.

Greg Peck, cabinet member for commercial services and asset management at Norfolk County Council, said: “The Norwich Airport Industrial Estate is full of potential.

"The time is right for us to step aside and give someone else with the right expertise the chance to make the most of an important economic asset.

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"By acting now, we can secure a significant cash boost for Norfolk taxpayers and see the estate thrive under new ownership – it’s a win-win.”

Norwich City Council leader Alan Waters said: “The industrial estate has been a significant asset for the council for many years and we’re acutely aware of its potential to be a site of economic importance for our city."

He added: “We’re very mindful that there are many successful businesses operating out of the site and have started to engage with them ahead of cabinet outlining the positives for them if the proposals go ahead.”

The jointly-owned site currently provides a net income of around £800k per year, with 60pc going to the county council and 40 pc to the city council.

But without further investment the cost of maintaining the estate will begin to eat into the income it generates.

The industrial estate, which s made up of light industrial warehousing and office space, is on land previously occupied by the former RAF Horsham St Faiths military airfield.

Proposals have been put in place to amend the lease for the new Norwich City Service Ltd depot on the land which will protect its future for Norwich City Council services.

The proposal will be considered at the county council's cabinet meeting on July 5 and at the city council's cabinet on July 7.