New bid to halt SnOasis plans

A NEW campaign group has been formed in a bid to derail the plans for the £320 million SnOasis winter sports complex in Suffolk.SnOasis Concern has been formed by residents after the plans were approved by Mid Suffolk District Council last week.

By John Howard

A NEW campaign group has been formed in a bid to derail the plans for the £320 million SnOasis winter sports complex in Suffolk.

SnOasis Concern has been formed by residents after the plans were approved by Mid Suffolk District Council last week. It is now calling for them to be re-examined by an inspector at a public inquiry.

A fighting fund has been established by the group and it has already launched an aggressive campaign to raise public awareness about how they claim the development will impact on the local community.


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A website has also been launched and a public meeting is being organised, details of which will be announced shortly.

Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee gave outline planning permission for the scheme, in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, last week.

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The project still has hurdles to overcome but if built is expected to include a main ski slope - 475 metres long with a 100 metre vertical drop - a golf course, ice rink, ice climbing wall, bobsleigh ride, casino, nightclub, conference centre, 350-room four star hotel and 350 chalets for guests.

Keith Willetts, chairman of the new group, said: “The group was set up as a result of the level of feelings among local people following the committee vote when six councillors felt so strongly that they rejected their own case officer's recommendation.”

SnOasis Concern stresses the development cannot go ahead without approval from the Government office for the east of England (GO East) because the plans fall outside the council's own Local Plan.

It is urging local residents to write to GO East at Cambridge and make the case for a full public inquiry.

Mr Willetts claimed: “The proposal is to put a giant metal slug jutting 250-feet in the air in the middle of a protected Special Landscape Area. It will have a very detrimental effect on wildlife, traffic and people's quality of life.”

The new group's website is www.snoasisconcern.com where people can register their support and leave details including how they are prepared to help or contribute to the fighting fund.

But SnOasis developer Godfrey Spanner said: “Mid Suffolk's democratically elected councillors made their decision to support the planning application after hearing both sides of the argument and taking advice from their officers and statutory consultees.

“SnOasis has been widely supported by people and organisations from throughout Suffolk and we are confident that the Government office will support the council's decision.”

At the centre of the SnOasis resort will be the world's largest indoor ski and board slope. Councillors also approved a £13 million railway station in the village, and 421 homes, both of which will help serve the development.

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