More support for SnOasis dream

By John HowardTHE national tourism authority has backed the £320million SnOasis winter sports complex, saying it would boost the region's economy.VisitBritain said the complex, earmarked for Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, would extend the tourist season and benefit businesses.

By John Howard

THE national tourism authority has backed the £320million SnOasis winter sports complex, saying it would boost the region's economy.

VisitBritain said the complex, earmarked for Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, would extend the tourist season and benefit businesses.

Mid Suffolk District Council is considering three planning applications relating to the SnOasis development.


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If approved, they would create the winter sports complex on the former Blue Circle cement works, a new railway station, 537 homes and shops.

The SnOasis complex would include a 500m-long piste, a nine-hole golf course, 18 restaurants, a nightclub, an eight-screen cinema, a casino, 350 self-catering lodges and a four-star 350-bed hotel.

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Michael Bedingfield, VisitBritain's England marketing director, said: “The SnOasis centre would really make for tourists coming throughout the year, not just during the summer months.

“VisitBritain welcomes the SnOasis project, seeing it as the introduction for many new people to such exciting sports as snowboarding and skiing, which have not been associated traditionally with this area of the country and not previously available throughout all seasons.

“We see the SnOasis project as being an exciting addition to Britain's tourism attractions, with considerable benefit to the regional economy in terms of visitor spend and extending the season.''

Bob Feltwell, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said SnOasis would create up to 3,000 jobs and bring investment into the region.

“We recognise the concerns over traffic, but similar large attractions in the UK and Europe have traffic management in place by the local authorities and it really works,” he added.

“People are glad to have something in these days when manufacturing is declining. We are in the global economy, we do not want this to go anywhere else but Suffolk.

“We expect people to come to Suffolk and not spend their entire time in this Center Parcs-type development, they will want to go out and see other parts of Suffolk.”

Godfrey Spanner, managing director of SnOasis applicants Onslow Suffolk, said he was delighted to have VisitBritain's backing and looked forward to working with it in the future on marketing the complex and the region.

He added: “VisitBritain, along with the regional tourism board and numerous other bodies and organisations, as well as most local people, recognise the huge benefits SnOasis will bring to not just the local area, but to the UK as a whole.”

However, residents living near the proposed development site who are worried about the traffic impact it will have on their villages.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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