Norwich Airport industrial estate sold to global firm for £35.7m

BBC News
Hugh Venables

An industrial estate owned by two councils has been sold to a private equity firm in a deal worth £35.7m.

Norwich Airport Industrial Estate was jointly owned by Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council since 1967.

Both councils agreed to sell the 48-acre site on the open market last year.

The sale to Dove Real Estate, a joint venture between Paloma Capital and Partners Group, would be a “boost for taxpayers and secure future investment in the site” the authorities said.

Alan Waters, Labour leader of Norwich City Council, said: “The sale to a successful developer will secure its future and attract new inward investment to the city.

“The income from the sale has generated a substantial capital receipt to the council which will assist in delivery of the medium-term financial strategy.”

Jake Harris, investment director at Paloma Capital, said: “We plan to invest immediately in improvements to the physical environment, but our most important short-term objective is to make contact with our new tenants and work with them to unlock the potential of their units and the wider estate.”

‘Sad to see the sale’

Labour councillor Steve Morphew, representing Catton Grove at Norfolk County Council, said: “It’s sad to see the sale and I would have preferred to have kept it in council ownership but I understand why.”

The industrial estate is made up of light industrial warehousing and office space.

The land was previously occupied by the former RAF Horsham St Faiths military airfield, with some of the hangars converted for modern business needs.

Reports for the councils last year showed the site provided a net income of around £800,000 per year.

It was said that without further investment the cost of maintaining the estate would begin to eat into the income generated.