Revealed: The �15m plan to secure the future success of Norwich airport
A �15m plan to develop Norwich airport was unveiled yesterday in a move which aviation bosses said would make a 'huge contribution' to securing the area's future.
Airport chiefs want to develop a 100 acre site into a business area called Norwich Aeropark which they hope will create 1,000 new jobs over the next ten years.
The development will include:
•A huge depot for respraying aeroplanes
•A business park with up to 100,000 square metres of space which will be marketed to aviation firms
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•A new road linking the airport to the A140 at the Horsford roundabout
The plans will not affect passenger numbers or lead to more flight routes, but airport bosses said the proposals, set to be submitted to Norwich City Council's planners in January, will help secure the site's future.
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Yesterday, at a public exhibition on the plans, the airport's chief executive, Andrew Bell, said: 'It makes a huge contribution to the airport's future.
'Our future is not dependent on this, but it will be a huge support towards its sustainability.'
The park, which will be built on disused land to the north east of the main runway, was sparked by Norwich firm Air Livery's desire for expansion.
The company, which resprays aeroplanes, has outgrown its base on Liberator Road and will double its workforce to 150 people.
In the first stage of the development, Air Livery will move into a 13,400 square metre building with five bays to hold aircraft for respraying.
Mr Bell said: 'Our first objective is to give Air Livery the facilities they want, but an obvious consequence was to look at the rest of the site.
'We can create a real momentum here. It is the biggest development at the airport since we were privatised in 2004.'
Alongside the planning application for the Air Livery buildings, the airport, through a company formed with Cambridge property specialists Wrenbridge, will seek outline planning permission to develop the rest of the area.
But Mr Bell said new buildings would only go up as and when they were needed by aviation firms.
The site will be marketed to companies and the airport hopes they will then agree to move to Norwich and the park will be developed.
Planning consultant Gareth Wilson said the initial planning application would be flexible enough to develop the site to firms' needs.
Mr Bell added: 'We are competing with business not just in the UK but in the whole of Europe.
'We have to be able to offer the most flexibility.
'We have the space here, but we also need to be able to offer the skilled labour.'
Mr Bell said they hoped to train workers in Norwich which would mean the new jobs would be filled locally rather than going to people from outside the area.
Broadland District Council leader Andrew Proctor backed the plans to create the high-skilled jobs.
He said: 'We have impressed upon the airport that some of these skills exist in Norfolk, but we want to give training and create the jobs within the local economy.'
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith described the Aeropark as an 'excellent opportunity' for Norwich. 'It will bring jobs to the area and extensive economic activity,' she said. 'Norwich should embrace the chance to show off its industry.'
The entrance to the site will be built from the Horsford roundabout on the A140 with an initial investment of around �4m.
But airport bosses hope the park's main entrance will eventually link to the Northern Distributor Road (NDR).
The NDR outline has a roundabout just north of the airport where an entrance could be built.