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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Eco-community plans for RAF base
Artist's impression of eco-community plan
The scheme could provide up to 10,000 homes and 2,000 jobs
A disused Norfolk airbase could be transformed into a 9bn eco-community combining homes, jobs, and a brand new broad, under proposals by a developer.

The vision for RAF Coltishall would make it a carbon-neutral settlement, developer Richard Davies has said.

The scheme could provide up to 10,000 homes and 2,000 jobs in a self-contained sustainable community.

The plans are on hold until the Home Office reaches a decision on whether to use the base as an immigration centre.

Plans show the old runway turned into an island with luxury waterside homes, a lake containing a wind farm, a wetlands centre, nature boardwalks and a boatyard.

We would like it to be an exemplary eco settlement with a zero carbon footprint
Richard Davies, developer

The scheme also includes calls for a spur road off the planned Norwich northern bypass, and an eco-friendly electric bus route to the city.

It is the brainchild of the Norfolk-born developer who insists the 15-year Coltishall project is "not a pipe dream".

Mr Davies said: "We would like it to be an exemplary eco-settlement with a zero carbon footprint because it has to be economically and socially sustainable with renewable energy."

Mr Davies has financial backing from English and international banks and has used planners Barton Willmore, brought together in a new company called Coltishall Group plc.

They want to buy the whole 750-acre site from the government to develop it in a strategic way, rather than have it sold off and fragmented.

'Brown Towns'

But the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) has visited the base to look at converting it into an immigration detention and removal centre.

Mr Davies' plans will be sent to the government in time for an end of October deadline for eco-settlement schemes.

Eco-communities, dubbed Brown Towns, need to have 5,000-20,000 homes, a zero carbon output, 30-50% affordable housing, a good range of facilities and one exemplary area of environmental sustainability.

David Hayman, co-ordinator of the RAF Coltishall task force trying to find a new future for the base, said: "We want to see a benefit to the economy as soon as possible."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The developer said he planned to build a carbon-neutral settlement



SEE ALSO
Study of RAF base closure impact
21 Feb 05 |  Norfolk

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