Business park occupants face uncertain future as site is to be sold
PUBLISHED: 12:18 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:21 11 June 2019
Businesses and artists based at a former Second World War airbase are facing an uncertain future amid plans to sell off their workspaces.
FW Properties, which has managed the West Raynham Business Park - the former RAF West Raynham - for the past five years, said the occupants were being given the first option to buy their sites, and if they could not, they would be auctioned off.
And although FW and Auction House East Anglia have said that if the tenants were unable to buy, the 44 sites would be sold as "medium to long-term investments" and no-one should be forced to leave the park, uncertainty surrounds the site's future.
Auctioneer Bryan Baxter said: "The intention is to encourage those current owners to purchase their own units, or for other investors to consider the individual units as medium to long-term investments.
"That's not to say another buyer might not have another end-use in mind."
But one of the tenants, Ashley John, from internet service provider Pingit-Wifi, said he was "unsettled" by what could happen.
Mr John said his firm had made an offer to buy their site, and also put in an offer on another site, but both offers had been refused.
He said: "We feel as a business there is uncertainty. It's unsettling."
Mr John said he had spoken to seven other tenants who wee considering moving off the site because of the sale.
The sites being sold off are owned by Thalia Investments Ltd, which has been in administration since 2011.
The air base's four hangers and other property at the park are already in the hands of private owners.
Guide prices for the properties range from £5,000-£10,000 for a small block of land, to £180,000-£200,000 for a partly-occupied office block which has a annual rental yield of £21,900.
FW Properties director Ian Fox said in an email to the tenants there would be a restrictive covenant applied to the title of each property preventing further sale of it before 2026, due to an existing Ministry of Defence overage that sits over the whole site.
Auction House is planning to hold a number of open days at the business park in the lead up to the auction, which will take place at Dunston Hall on July 17.