Move to sell Norwich Airport Industrial Estate 'inevitable but regrettable'

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

Empty units at Norwich Airport Industrial Estate. - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised over the "inevitable but regrettable" sale of a council-owned industrial estate.

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

There were suggestions as recently as 2017, that the councils could pump millions of pounds into revitalising the estate - which could increase how much revenue the authorities would get from the site.

Rent from the companies based on the estate brought in more than £840,000 for the two councils last year, split 60pc to the county council and 40pc to the city council.

The councils had considered whether they could invest more money into the estate - but, following various commissioned reports, officers concluded it should be sold instead.

The cabinets at County Hall and City Hall are next month likely to agree to put the 48-hectare site, which the councils have owned since 1969, on the market.

And Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group at County Hall and county councillor for Catton Grove, said he was concerned at the loss of "an important asset".

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Denise Bradley

He said: "It is inevitable but regrettable that such an important asset is being sold.

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"It should be generating jobs and an income for the councils but somehow the government manages to stump up money for road projects, yet the cupboard is bare for genuine infrastructure that has the potential to create new businesses.

"The county council need the sale proceeds to offset the high risks of schemes like the Western Link, but the priorities just feel all wrong."

Norfolk County Council cabinet member Greg Peck Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Greg Peck, cabinet member for commercial services and asset management at Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

Greg Peck, cabinet member for commercial services and asset management at the county council, said the estate was "full of potential".

He said: "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.

"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.”

Part of the site is earmarked for about 35 new homes in the local plan - a blueprint for where new homes could be acceptable.

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