Ski complex would be 'blot on landscape'

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop SnOasis say it will be a ghastly blot on the landscape and devastate a beautiful area of rural Suffolk.Councillors were shown images of the complex jutting 73 metres high into the Suffolk skyline and were told of people's fears that the amount of light generated would mean some local villages may never again truly enjoy night-time.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop SnOasis say it will be a ghastly blot on the landscape and devastate a beautiful area of rural Suffolk.

Councillors were shown images of the complex jutting 73 metres high into the Suffolk skyline and were told of people's fears that the amount of light generated would mean some local villages may never again truly enjoy night-time.

The committee heard from a string of objectors worried about traffic, noise and the shattering of their rural lifestyle.

Lord Michael Blakenham, who farms land near the site and who has spent 20 years as a director of an investment bank, fears the habitat on the site will be lost, in an area which is home to creatures including bats and badgers.

He added: “The building will project over the skyline by 73 metres. All the boxes have not been ticked with this project.''

John Williams, who represents a group of 15 communities in the Great Blakenham area, said their fears included the sheer height the ski slope will project into the skyline, and the scale of the development.

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He said traffic was still an issue, with no major motorways near the site and the committee was also shown a film made by local villagers showing the already terrible traffic locally.

Keith Willetts, a resident who lives near Baylham, said: “This is a massive, massive building. It's been said that this development is like Centre Parcs on ice, but Centre Parcs is a very low scale development, with chalets mingling amongst trees.

“SnOasis will be visible from Bury St Edmunds. One of the joys of living in this part of Suffolk is it's rural, dark, and there is a lot of wildlife.

“Apart from the distant glow of Ipswich or Wattisham Airfield, it really is very dark. This is the wrong development, in the wrong place.''

Peter Trinder, the owner and operator of the artificial ski slope at Wherstead, near Ipswich, said: “If SnOasis goes ahead it will destroy everything me and my family have worked for, for the last 22 odd years, and that is very hard to accept.''

Mid Suffolk District Council's planning referrals committee is debating whether to give outline planning permission for the winter sports resort; whether to approve a new railway station, which planning officers consider is a prerequisite for SnOasis to go ahead; and a 421 home development by Persimmon Homes.

Regardless of the outcome of yesterday's meeting, which continues today, the battle for SnOasis is unlikely to be over.

If councillors vote in favour of the development the decision would have to be examined by the Government office for the east, which could force a public inquiry.

If the members vote against giving in principle approval Onslow Suffolk has the right to appeal to the planning expectorate within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who would carry out a public inquiry.

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