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RAF Coltishall future action call

PUBLISHED: 17:24 15 December 2008 | UPDATED: 09:18 13 July 2010

Renewed efforts need to be made to find fresh uses for the former RAF Coltishall airfield, says a campaign group.

An action group set up to fight eco-town plans for the closed base says it still has a role to play even though the threat of a 10,000 home town on the site appears to be receding.

Renewed efforts need to be made to find fresh uses for the former RAF Coltishall airfield, says a campaign group.

An action group set up to fight eco-town plans for the closed base says it still has a role to play even though the threat of a 10,000 home town on the site appears to be receding.

Now Coltishall Eco-Town Action Group (CETAG) is calling for action from a task force formed to find new uses for the former Battle of Britain airfield.

Part of it is due to be a prison, though that project has been held up through a planning hiccup, but a big question mark continues to hang over the rest of the base, two years after it shut.

Plans for an eco-town now seem to have refocused on Rackheath, where the site is favoured by government officials promoting a new raft of sustainable communities.

But CETAG spokesman Paul Thomas said the group still had a brief to look at the future of the base, and was keen to see the task force re-energised in the New Year.

“If it is not going to be an eco-town, what is it going to be? Our group has had several inquires in recent months from interested businesses, including heritage aviation.

“We need to be positive despite the state of the economy, though not finding new uses when the base closed now appears to be a missed opportunity,” he added.

CETAG chairman Glyn Williams added: “The 14 parishes comprising CETAG believe we should now help Norfolk County Council's Coltishall Task Force find proper uses for the site.

“We are therefore seeking to join the Task Force which after a period of abeyance during the period of eco-town exploration, is now due to meet early in the new year”CETAG believed a return to green-field farming use might be sensible for the several hundred acres of open space surrounding the former runway and RAF buildings.Planning permission continued to be explored for the proposed prison but CETAG also believed redundant buildings could be saved and used for small to medium-sized businesses.

The group had also East of England Regional Assembly's mention of a possible “new town” of up to 12,000 homes on the Coltishall site by 2031, but felt it was “totally inappropriate” in view of the government's decision to drop the original eco-town of 10,000 homes on sustainability grounds, he added.

Mr Williams said: “There have been two petitions objecting to the eco-town, signed by several thousand people. One, to the Prime Minister, has now been answered with confirmation that government has dropped us from the shortlist. “But if there was any serious question of the EERA idea proceeding, albeit in the 2020s, further major action by CETAG would be revived. We will maintain a watch while seeking the best outcome for the site through the work of the Task Force.”


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