'Return ex-RAF land to farming' plea

Pressure is growing on the government to allow land at the former RAF Coltishall base to be returned to agriculture.The campaign group which was set up to fight plans to build an eco-town of up to 10,000 homes on the defunct RAF Colitshall airbase is now calling for much of the land to be returned to the farming families from whom it was compulsorily purchased more than six decades ago.

Pressure is growing on the government to allow land at the former RAF Coltishall base to be returned to agriculture.

The campaign group which was set up to fight plans to build an eco-town of up to 10,000 homes on the defunct RAF Colitshall airbase is now calling for much of the land to be returned to the farming families from whom it was compulsorily purchased more than six decades ago.

The Coltishall Eco-Town Action Group (Cetag) says that if this in not possible then the land should be used for more realistic “low impact” projects which reflect the lack of infrastructure in the local area.

The group already has the support of more than 200 local residents who attended a public meeting last week and it has now been backed by North Norfolk District Council and prominent local estate agent Christopher Hall, who has submitted a petition on the issue to the Downing Street website.


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Cetag spokesman Paul Thomas, said: “Turning the majority of the base over to farmland would be far more useful to Norfolk and to the nation because it would be productive.

“The concept would be to take the land back to agriculture and continue to use the existing buildings for more appropriate purposes.

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“We support Mr Hall's petition and we would encourage everyone to sign it.”

The petition is already gaining momentum.

It ask the government to: “Consider the return of the land, originally purchased under a compulsory purchase order, to its rightful owner where surely there is a moral obligation to do so and where it should farmed as much needed agricultural land, fitting with the surrounding countryside and the county of Norfolk.”

The farmland call has also receive support “in principle” from North Norfolk District Council.

Steve Blatch, strategic director at NNDC, said that the council was due to hold meetinghs with the Ministry of Justice, which owns land, to talk about developing a “master plan” for the site.

“We want to set the parameters in terms of what uses would be acceptable for the site but we are not is a position to deliver because the site could be bought,” he said.

The base has lain dormant since it closed in November 2006.

To sign Mr Hall's petition go to http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ECO-COLTISHALL

to visit the Cetag website go to http://cetag.webalistic.co.uk/?section=10800

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