SnOasis criticism 'desperate'

THE developer behind plans for the £300million SnOasis winter sports complex in Suffolk has accused campaigners of “desperation” after they voiced new fears about the scheme.

By John Howard

THE developer behind plans for the £300million SnOasis winter sports complex in Suffolk has accused campaigners of “desperation” after they voiced new fears about the scheme.

Those trying to halt the plans claimed it would be “sheer lunacy” to build it near a landfill site in the wake of a major blaze there.

The development at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, would be East Anglia's biggest since the Port of Felixstowe. It include a giant ski slope, ice rink, casino, nightclub, hotel, restaurants, railway station and hundreds of new homes.


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But a fire at the neighbouring Mason's landfill site on Tuesday has sparked new claims from campaigners.

The blaze was in an area where methane is extracted from rotting material, and located only a few yards from the site's boundary with the proposed multi-million pound development.

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It started under the cab of an articulated lorry. Flames then spread to the tyres and cab of the vehicle before igniting the fuel tanks, which sent up a plume of thick black smoke visible for miles.

Keith Willetts, chairman of SnOasis Concern, claimed: “It is sheer lunacy to build SnOasis next to this. The fire needed six crews from around Suffolk to extinguish the blaze. The plumes of thick black smoke could be seen from Colchester, some 15 miles away.

“Mid Suffolk District Council must change its stance on supporting the development which we think has been shown to be dangerous, an environmental and an ecological disaster.”

But Godfrey Spanner, the developer behind the project, said: “I think they are grabbing at anything to detract from the importance of SnOasis. I think this shows their desperation.”

Despite gaining Mid Suffolk District Council's backing, the Government decided to call in the plans for a public inquiry at Ipswich's Corn Exchange, which is set to resume with a site visit on May 1.

Mr Spanner said he was convinced the inspector would support the scheme.

The SnOasis project has divided opinion between those who welcome enormous jobs and economic benefits predicted by the developers, to those who fear increased traffic and light pollution.

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