Eye airfield blueprint from Mid Suffolk District Council

Eye airfield plan The industrial estate is on a former airfield between the Eye, Yaxley and Brome

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Consultants have been hired to provide a blueprint to try to transform a rural Suffolk industrial estate.

Mid Suffolk District Council said the development of Eye airfield had been piecemeal and it needed a "cohesive vision".

The council has held a meeting for local people in Eye to outline ideas.

Dawn Easter, council development officer, said: "It has the potential to deliver a lot more jobs than it does at the moment."

The airfield was sold by the Ministry of Defence in the mid 1960s and is currently home to a variety of businesses including a cement factory, a chicken litter power station, haulage firms and light industrial units spread out over the 334 acre (135 hectare) site.

Planning permission has been granted to build two wind turbines and there is a planning application to build two more.

'Piecemeal development'

David Burn, a district councillor for neighbouring Palgrave, said: "What is wrong with the airfield is that with no overall plan, you don't know what businesses you will get and you cannot set economic targets.

"It's a mixture of branded areas such as the Mid Suffolk Business Park and a hotchpotch of old bits of building and piecemeal development and we need to make it a more attractive area to new businesses.

"The long-term vision could turn site into centre of excellence for renewable energy, local food industries, technology and light engineering or youth training facilities."

Core Connections, which is producing the development brief for the council, is looking at transport issues, drainage of the land, establishing a country park and landscaping

The council is putting in a bid to the government for the airfield to become a rural growth network hub which it said could mean it gets a business advisor on site and priority to improve broadband connectivity.

Ms Easter said: "There's a general acceptance that it's a really good site for employment right next to the A140 and midway between Ipswich and Norwich."

The council expects the initial development blueprint to be completed in February.

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