The £500million SnOasis winter sports complex planned to be built in Suffolk has been rebranded under the new name of Valley Ridge.

East Anglian Daily Times: Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council's cabinet member for economic growth, welcomed the name change Picture: GREGG BROWNGerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council's cabinet member for economic growth, welcomed the name change Picture: GREGG BROWN

The backers of the scheme at the site in Masons Quarry, Great Blakenham, have promised the centre will become a “premium staycation resort”, with a planned opening to the public in 2023 or 2024.

As revealed by this newspaper, the land was bought by Masons Quarry Investments Co Ltd in late 2018, which renamed itself as Valley Ridge Holdings Ltd last month.

Valley Ridge Holdings is fronted by the current chief executive of TGI Fridays, Robert Cook, and finance industry veteran David Church.

The head company has also changed the name of the project, which has been in the works since 2001.

After years of development, including the collapse of majority shareholder First Equity Group in 2011, Mid Suffolk District Council finally gave the SnOasis project the green light in April this year.

It is estimated that the construction of the “first-of-its-kind” resort could create 3,500 jobs, with a further 1,900 roles when it is fully operational.

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The Valley Ridge resort, as it is now known, will provide winter sport facilities such as a professional-level ski slope, ice rink and bobsleigh run, as well as a cinema and a hotel.

Since its conception, the scheme has attracted controversy - with many leaders raising concerns over the area’s infrastructure, the impact on the environment and whether a project of its scale would ever be built.

William Harford, of Valley Ridge, said: “We will be delivering local jobs and local investment that will benefit the whole of Suffolk, in a way that pays heed to the needs of the environment and local people.

“The pandemic has increased the staycation market, and Suffolk is a great county for such a popular tourist attraction. “Together, the new name and team can only increase confidence in the delivery of the project.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to Valley Ridge Great Blakenham.”

Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for economic growth, added: “The name change will give a new image to the project.

“The economy team at Mid Suffolk are very happy with it.”

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