£300m SnOasis project takes 'crucial step forward'
PUBLISHED: 10:51 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 07 March 2019
Latest plans for an indoor snow park at Great Blakenham suggest it could be complete by 2023, it has been revealed.
The controversial SnOasis development has been on and off the agenda for nearly 20 years but a report prepared ahead of Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee later this month notes that funding is now in place for the huge £300m project.
Outline planning permission has already been granted for the project, which was the brain child of developer Godfrey Spanner, but more detailed plans will now be debated for the entertainment complex.
If ti gets the final go-ahead, the site would incorporate an indoor skiing slope with bobsleigh runs and an ice wall as well as an entertainment dome offering a climbing wall, casino, nightclub and cinema. It would also house retail opportunities and a hotel.
The report states: “The submitted reserved matters applications represent a crucial step forward in the life of this long-standing project.”
It states that officers understand financial backing is in place and that, if approved, the company could “have the entire facility capable of operation by the end of 2023”.
The documents, which have been submitted by development company DP9, outline the process for relocating newts from the site, the location of an education centre and the materials to be used on the buildings, amongst other details.
The report will be discussed by members on March 13, and it is recommended they approve the plans provided, subject to finer details being agreed at a later date.
Steve Plume, chairman of Great Blakenham Parish Council and chairman of the SnOasis Parish Alliance group, said: “This report shows that the developers think that the project is still on track to be finished. We have met with Mr Spanner who is very determined to complete the SnOasis.
“As a group we do have a number of concerns with the reserve matters that have been published.
“We have sent these concerns to the Mid Suffolk planning committee and will use our time slots at the meeting to articulate our concerns and ask questions of the development.
“One of the main concerns is the transport infrastructure. Residents in the surrounding parishes are already concerned with the amount of traffic on the roads at peak times, and that is before the development is built. Also plans for a train station at the site have been scrapped meaning that more visitors would have to use cars to get there.
“We are also concerned about the drainage system at the site as well as the environmental impact that it will have.
“I want to make it clear, the group is not necessarily against the idea. We just want to make sure that it is done in the right way and that any concerns that we have with the project are addressed.”
He added: “We are very pleased with the number of jobs a project like this would create in the area and the benefit to our economy.”
The controversial SnOasis scheme has been dogged by setbacks and delays since Onslow Suffolk first acquired the former quarry site in 2001.
Kevin Welsby, district councillor for Bramford and Blakenham said: “My personal opinion is that SnOasis is bad for the Brand of Suffolk.
“When you think of Suffolk you think of beaches and coastline and countryside, not skiing. You don’t see mountains in Suffolk.
“The project would create jobs, but low paid and low skilled jobs. We need to bring in more highly skilled jobs in science and technology.
“This was all pushed through during the last Labour government despite local objections, so it will be difficult to stop now.”
Both the application agent, DP9, and developer Godfrey Spanner have both been approached for comment, but neither have responded.