'Delays could scupper SnOasis project'

THE developer behind a £320million winter sports complex has warned that any further delays in getting the go-ahead could jeopardise the project.Godfrey Spanner, managing director of SnOasis developer Onslow Suffolk, spoke out after Suffolk Preservation Society called on councillors to defer a decision on the complex until more research is completed.

By John Howard

THE developer behind a £320million winter sports complex has warned that any further delays in getting the go-ahead could jeopardise the project.

Godfrey Spanner, managing director of SnOasis developer Onslow Suffolk, spoke out after Suffolk Preservation Society called on councillors to defer a decision on the complex until more research is completed.

The organisation is concerned about the impact upon on the key A14 route if the Great Blakenham resort is given planning permission – particularly after the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) said it was unlikely to be able to provide a new railway station for the complex.


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Mid Suffolk district councillors are due to discuss three planning applications relating to the complex, on the former Blue Circle cement works, towards the end of next month. They include a bid for 537 new homes and community facilities.

Richard Ward, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, has called for a delay in making a decision on the project following the SRA's announcement.

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"The implication of the decision will be to potentially increase significantly traffic on the A14 if the proposal proceeds," he said.

He said the society was aware of a study into the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge – including its ability to absorb further traffic generated from developments such as SnOasis. Its results are due to be published this summer.

"The society would suggest that it is essential that the results of the study are available to the council and councillors to ensure they have all the necessary facts before determining the proposals," added Mr Ward.

Mr Spanner, managing director of SnOasis developers Onslow Suffolk, said: "We would seriously have to think of other uses for the site if there is any further delay - it would be problematic.

"Our people are working with the SRA. We anticipated we would be in to planning by March last year, and it would be intolerable if we were delayed any further.''

Planning consultant John Lawson, who is working for the district council on the SnOasis applications, said the new railway station for SnOasis could be paid for by developers.

He said: "The SRA announcement was about investment in new rail facilities, it does not cover private investment or initiatives, which Great Blakenham is. "It does not rule the potential for a new station out. Onslow have submitted a business case to the SRA and that is being considered."

Mr Lawson said the council saw a new railway station as highly important to the bid.

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