Demolishing contaminated Norwich depot to make way for hundreds of homes could cost council £2m
PUBLISHED: 16:32 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:32 04 September 2018
Demolishing Norwich's Mile Cross depot, to make way for hundreds of new homes, will cost almost £2m - because the site is so contaminated, council bosses have revealed.
Councillors will next week be asked to agree to make £1.98m available for works at the site, where investigations found chemical contaminants such as asbestos, along with low levels of ground gas.
Demolition of buildings at the 10.5 acre site, off Mile Cross Road, would cost an estimated £700,000, but a contamination specialist said a further £1.2m would need to be go on decontamination.
Not all would come from City Hall’s coffers. The government has made nearly £1m available through a grant, which the council has to match fund.
The council has yet to decide what to do with the site, but options include:
• Selling the site to a private developer.
• Transferring or selling the site to the city council’s own company Norwich Regeneration Limited (NRL) to build up to 250 homes.
• Transferring part of the site to NRL, with the council hanging on to the rest to build “health and wellbeing and other community facilities”.
The last option is currently the “preferred way forward” and a business case will come before the council in November.
But council officers say “the worst case scenario” of selling the site to a private developer would bring in between £3.85m to £5.5m, depending on whether planning permission has been granted.
If the site is transferred to the council’s own company, the market value would have to be given to the council from that company, either in case or equity share. Otherwise, it could contravene state aid rules.
The site used to be the council’s City Works depot. More recently, it was the Mile Cross Business Centre, home to about 30 small to medium sized businesses.
In 2016, the council served notice on tenants and the last one - Norwich Norse Environmental - left last month.
The council has applied to its own planning committee for demolition permission and the ruling Labour cabinet will decide next Wednesday whether to agree the budget for the demolition.
Mike Stonard, the council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, previously said: “This is a really important development site for us.”