Cash boost for SnOasis

WORK on the much-delayed SnOasis project could begin soon after the Government announced it was pumping �5.5million into the scheme’s housing development.

News that the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is injecting enough cash to build a third of the 386 homes has come as a boost to developer Godfrey Spanner, of Onslow Suffolk, who believes the housing project could help kickstart the ambitious winter sports complex in Great Blakenham.

The funding will unlock 121 properties – 81 affordable homes and 40 private dwellings – which will be delivered jointly by Orbit Homes and Onslow Suffolk.

Mr Spanner said: “We have been working on the SnOasis development for ten years and in that time we have survived property and bank pressures, a change in government, exchange rate disasters plus the biggest recession in living memory, so to say I am pleased with the news is an understatement.

“Our county needs new jobs – SnOasis will deliver them by the thousand. Suffolk needs a boost to its tourist industry – SnOasis will deliver a world-class facility. Our winter sports athletes need the opportunity to develop their skills to the highest levels – SnOasis will provide them.”

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Planning permission for the housing site at the former Mason Cements Works was granted in March, but because of the difficult economic climate and housing market conditions work had not been able to start.

But the HCA announced yesterday it was bringing forward the scheme following recent confirmation of funding by the Treasury for a handful of Kickstart 2 schemes in the East of England that were already pre-approved, but for which funding was previously in doubt following initial cuts to the HCA’s Kickstart budget in May 2010.

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When completed, the homes will be a mixture of social rented, Low Cost Home Ownership (LCHO) and private sale.

Terry Fuller, director for the HCA in the east of England, said the announcement was “great news” and that SnOasis would be a “fantastic addition to the community” and a real boost for tourism and employment opportunities when it is finished.

Julie Abbey-Taylor, Mid Suffolk District Council’s strategic housing manager, said she and her team were “delighted” by the progress.

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