Another spoke in the wheel of PedalPark cycle vision for former RAF Coltishall site
PUBLISHED: 09:47 11 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:47 11 November 2016
Plans to develop the old RAF Colishall site as a technology hub could spell an end to ambitions to create a world-class cycling facility.
Neil Turner, who co-owns bike shop Pedal Revolution, which has outlets in Norwich, Gorleston and Cromer, had hoped the PedalPark would open at Scottow Enterprise Park this year.
With a three-mile perimeter cycle circuit, PedalPark would be delivered on a not-for-profit basis and be the first of its kind in the region.
But delays in securing a lease meant the launch event for the park, due for May 8, had to be abandoned, and a potential £75,000 grant from Sport England was missed.
Now Norfolk County Council has cast further doubt over the project with the launch of a strategic review of the site, which could see a hub of science and technology businesses spring up.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We’re carrying out a strategic review of Scottow Enterprise Park to assess the potential for developing it as a hub which is specifically focused on supporting science, technology, and engineering (STEM) businesses.
“We estimate the review will be finished in about a month and until then, we are unable make any commitment to prospective new tenants whose businesses may fall outside the scope of this potential focus.
“We have kept Mr Turner fully informed throughout this process and have assured him that we will tell him about the outcome of the review as soon as we possibly can.”
In November 2015, Scottow Enterprise Park was designated as one of 10 locations to form a new Enterprise Zone – with the aim of attracting 18,500 jobs over a 25-year period. Enterprise Zones deliver benefits to companies including a business rate discount of up to £275,000 over five years, simplified planning and access to Superfast broadband.
Announced in George Osbourne’s autumn statement, part of Scottow Enterprise Park was given Enterprise Zone status “to focus on businesses in the creative digital and low carbon sectors”.
Mr Turner has invested around £50,000 into the project to date, and said he has not been asked for any input into the review. “We signed the original agreement in December last year and in late August we were told of the strategic review,” he said.
“We have been told our input is not needed into that review. We would be using a different part of the site to the Enterprise Zone, and from our point of view, and that of Sports England, we are offering a substantial amount of money over a 10-year period to use the perimeter road and an old building to generate substantial income for the taxpayer. It would generate economic growth for the whole area.
“We passionately want to support the heritage of the site and continue to evolve how local people enjoy such an iconic landmark.”