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Cleared for take-off? Decision due on plans to bring former RAF runway back into use

PUBLISHED: 15:50 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 19 June 2019

Swift Aircraft want to bring part of RAF Coltishall back into use. Picture: Mike Page

Swift Aircraft want to bring part of RAF Coltishall back into use. Picture: Mike Page

©Coypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast, sy

An aircraft manufacturer will this week discover whether its plans to bring a former Royal Air Force runway back into action will be cleared for take-off.

Swift Aircraft, which is based at Scottow Enterprise Park, wants to bring the former RAF runway back into use to test light aircrafts Picture: ANTONY KELLYSwift Aircraft, which is based at Scottow Enterprise Park, wants to bring the former RAF runway back into use to test light aircrafts Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Swift Aircraft relocated to the Scottow Enterprise Park - formerly RAF Coltishall - in 2017 and last year launched a bid to use the site's disused runway to test its planes.

This week, North Norfolk District Council will decide whether to give its approval to the plans - which could see between 90 and 100 new jobs created in the coming years.

It would see aircraft take to the skies on the site for the first time since the former base closed in 2006 - having been an institution of aviation for close to 70 years.

If the bid is approved by councillors on Thursday, it would see the runway put to the same use it had all those years - though with far less frequency and volume.

It would allow light aircraft to be tested and delivered at the manufacturer's base between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. 8am and 1pm on Saturdays and with no more than four take-offs and four landings a day.

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Some local concern has been expressed around the noise impact of the scheme, which have seen Liberal Democrat councillor Saul Penfold request the application be determined by the committee.

Mr Penfold, however, has said he is largely in favour of the proposals - providing conditions are placed on it.

In his report, the council's case officer Rob Parkinson recommended the committee approve the plans - which could also see them deal with an identical application submitted to Broadland District Council for the site.

Mr Parkinson wrote: "The existing runway site lies as an unused resource and in some respects is a cultural and heritage asset - the re-use of which would be beneficial to its upkeep.

"The site is within an area of growing economic activity and the proposed use is considered complementary to the existing and emerging uses at the Scottow Enterprise Park."

The application will be decided by North Norfolk's planning committee.

Swift Aircraft has been contacted.

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