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Bid for new factory at RAF Coltishall site

PUBLISHED: 16:23 21 August 2014 | UPDATED: 22:51 22 August 2014

An artist's impression of what the future could hold for RAF Coltishall plans. Photo: Supplied

An artist's impression of what the future could hold for RAF Coltishall plans. Photo: Supplied

Supplied

Council leaders have welcomed a planning application from a company which wants to start up a factory in a hanger at the former RAF Coltishall air base.

Bosses of Little Melton-based Vitromite, which takes reprocessed glass and turns it into building components, say up to 250 jobs could be created in the long term.

The company, which was created eight months ago, wants to use one of the four aircraft hangars at the 600 acre site, which Norfolk County Council bought for £4m in January last year.
A planning application has been lodged with North Norfolk District Council for hangar four to be used for a 53 metre long production line, where waste glass is turned into glass beads which are then mixed with resin.

The company says that patented process create panels which can be used in construction.

James Howells, director of Vitromite, said: “We are eager to establish a permanent base at Coltishall. This will ultimately bring life back to this corner of Norfolk which has always been our prime choice of location.

“For a cutting edge new business such as Vitromite Ltd to be forever linked with an important heritage asset such as former RAF Coltishall is the wish of all of us at Vitromite and we have all worked very hard to get to this point.

“We are very aware of the heritage and heartfelt association around the globe of the site and any and all of our efforts will be complementary and respectful of the whole site and the surrounding communities.

“We aim to be ‘Low impact High output’ and a supportive neighbour to help fill the vibrancy and financial void left from the departure of the RAF.

“Badersfield is a developing community and deserves the opportunity of local employment both direct and indirect our aim is to provide this for many years to come.”

The company says, if planning permission is secured, it would create a dozen new jobs straight away and would grow to beyond 250 in the “medium to longer term”.

Documents lodged with North Norfolk District Council state that the factory would result in 10 lorry movements in and 10 lorry movements away from the base within the proposed 12 hour working day of 7am until 7pm, Monday to Saturday.

As reported, the apparent slow progress at getting tenants in at the former RAF base, has led to criticism of the council’s decision to buy the base.
An application to dig up the ends of the runway to provide aggregate is currently on hold, while a proposal for a solar farm hit a potential hurdle when the government announced changes to the subsidies for such schemes.

George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, said of the Vitromite application: “This is a welcome step in the right direction to help bring life back into the former airbase and boost its prosperity for the future.

“We have always said there is much potential for economic success on the site but that development would take time to come to fruition simply due to its sheer size and complexity.

“I’m pleased that work has been taking place behind the scenes and this business development is another positive move towards the site’s rejuvenation.”

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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