RAF Sealand sold to off-shore trust

Praxis Holdings has paid an undisclosed sum to buy 247 acres of prime development land in Deeside from Defence Estates.

The deal ends years of speculation about what would happen to the base, sited next to Deeside Industrial Park, a major manufacturing and distribution hub. The Expeditionary, Radar and Airfield Squadron vacated RAF Sealand in 2006 when it moved to Scampton, near Lincoln.

Current planning guidance has the area either side of the A550 trunk road through Flintshire reserved for the Northern Gateway, an extension to DIP.

Jason Print, partner at Cushman & Wakefield, advised Praxis. Print said: "This is a strategic acquisition for Praxis. The Sealand site is one of very few large sites in the North West suitable for high quality mixed use development."

Northern Gateway's developers would include Cheshire-based Pochin, in a joint venture with Goodman. Pochin Goodman paid £5m for 200 acres of surplus Corus land next to DIP but has yet to develop it out.

The Corus Colours works at Shotton now has no surplus land left, following the Pochin Goodman deal and welcoming two other Corus group businesses into new offices as it reconfigured the estate. Corus has also done a deal with energy-from-waste operator Orchid at Shotton.

To get the Northern Gateway development at Deeside and Sealand moving would require a new road junction on to the dual carriageway. Lobbying is ongoing for the government investment in infrastructure needed.

For now, Isle of Man-based Praxis, will seek to let the space cheaply as secure storage units on short-term leases.

Praxis Holdings has acquired £200m of commercial investments over the last 18 months. Cushman & Wakefield advised Praxis. GVA Grimley advised Defence Estates.

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