Council 'to back' £320m SnOasis scheme

A £320 MILLION pound winter sports complex planned in Suffolk looks set to win the backing of the county council, it has emerged.Mid Suffolk District Council will decide on April 20 whether the SnOasis development at Great Blakenham gets the go-ahead - but it appears the county council will support the project, subject to a number of conditions.

A £320 MILLION pound winter sports complex planned in Suffolk looks set to win the backing of the county council, it has emerged.

Mid Suffolk District Council will decide on April 20 whether the SnOasis development at Great Blakenham gets the go-ahead - but it appears the county council will support the project, subject to a number of conditions.

Godfrey Spanner, managing director of developers Onslow Suffolk Ltd, said last night he was “absolutely delighted” about the news.

In a report to the county council's cabinet, which meets on April 4, it is advised councillors who are being consulted on the scheme give it the thumbs up - as long as a number of conditions are met.


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These include ensuring an entrance fee is paid so facilities are only used by SnOasis guests, that there is a contribution towards recycling and waste collection, a comprehensive package of transport measures are in place and that there is a greater degree of wildlife protection.

John Williams, chairman of the SnOasis Parish Group, which was set up to provide a collective voice against the development, also described the report as extremely encouraging - but was disappointed the applicant had failed to satisfactorily address a number of concerns that were drawn to his attention 20 months ago.

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However speaking yesterday Mr Spanner said he was confident that all conditions could be met with the minimum of fuss.

He said: “This is very good news. It is the first time I've heard about it but I know there have been some favourable noises coming from the county council for a while.

“Of course I am absolutely delighted and the conditions asked for are all things that we have embraced and expect to fine tune when we get down to detail.

“Traffic issues are the biggest piece of the jigsaw because they affect everyone's lives and we have done our best to make sure we will be as little nuisance as possible. Similarly wildlife is another concern for many people and we have worked hard to address their fears.”

The SnOasis application submitted in June 2004 included a 500m long piste, a nine hole golf course, 18 restaurants, a nightclub, an eight screen cinema, casino, 350 self catering lodges and a four star 350 bed hotel. It also aims to create more than 1,000 jobs and be a major boost to the local economy.

Along with the plans for the leisure facilities there are also related applications for a residential housing scheme and a railway station at the former Blue Circle cement works in Great Blakenham.

Mr Williams said: “That the county council is echoing our own severe reservations on a number of critical issues clearly demonstrates that what we have consistently said since June 2004 is correct.”

He said the parish group would now be contacting the county council with a detailed view on a variety of points, including the fact that officers may have overlooked the impact on the Great Blakenham railway level crossing gates of trains stopping at the new station.

“The additional closure of the Great Blakenham crossing gates would be a physical barrier for HGVs leaving the busy business parks en route for the A14 and the temptation will be for drivers to divert through narrow roads or other villages,” he continued.

However Mr Williams said it was clear the county council had taken careful note of key aspects of the application and that the wide ranging caveats and conditions were “extremely encouraging”.

“It is only hoped that Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee will take full note of the report and take action to implement its recommendations,” he added.

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