Pledge to improve former Norfolk RAF base after being placed on conservation area ‘at risk’ register

Views from the control tower at the former RAF Coltishall. Photo: Bill Smith

Views from the control tower at the former RAF Coltishall. Photo: Bill Smith

It was one of the most famous Battle of Britain stations that was home to a host of wartime heroes.

Massive blast walls, a Cold War legacy at RAF Coltishall. Photo: Bill Smith

Massive blast walls, a Cold War legacy at RAF Coltishall. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

However, the former RAF Coltishall base in North Norfolk, which was abandoned for military use eight years ago, has entered English Heritage's at risk register for the first time.

The custodians of the disused airfield spoke of their surprise after the site's conservation area was classed as being in 'very bad' condition and 'deteriorating' by the cultural preservation agency.

The former RAF base was one of the last remaining Battle of Britain airfields to be in continuous service until its closure in 2006 and four years ago was granted conservation area status by Broadland District Council and North Norfolk District Council to give extra protection to some of its historic features.

Officials from Norfolk County Council, which bought the 600 acre site last year for £4m, said they had plans in place to improve the area and get the former airbase off English Heritage's at risk register.

The former RAF Coltishall base that has been bought by Norfolk County Council. Contraol tower.Photo:

The former RAF Coltishall base that has been bought by Norfolk County Council. Contraol tower.Photo: Steve Adams


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The conservation area at the ex-RAF Coltishall includes the runway, hangars, the control tower, the station watch tower, the officers' mess and sergeants' mess. Hanger 1 also contains examples of wartime military graffiti and camouflage.

Tim Edmunds, Coltishall project sponsor at Norfolk County Council, said it was a shock to see that the site was a new entry on English Heritage's at risk register.

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'We have made great strides in bringing the site back to life. However, we will focus our attention on removing it from the at risk register as soon as we can.

'The former airbase had been disused for more than six years and was in a state of significant disrepair before the county council decided to buy it last year. Since then we have been working hard on the conservation area working together with English Heritage and the local district councils

'We have been carrying out landscaping work, making repairs to the buildings to reverse the neglect which had set in during the years it had been left empty.

'The former base is a unique site due to its size and complexity brings with it a number of challenges but we have been working towards bringing the site back to life as quickly as possible to attract businesses and boost the local economy,' he said.

A public consultation was held last month over plans for a giant solar farm at the former airbase.

The scheme would generate electricity for up to 15,000 homes, according to developer Red Triangle Energy, which is negotiating a 25 year lease with the county council.

Almost 500 conservation areas across the country are on the latest at risk register.

Have you got a story about a former Second World War military base? Email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

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