SnOasis gets five-year time extension

THE developer behind the controversial SnOasis project has been granted five more years to build it, despite concerns about transport links.

Godfrey Spanner of Onsolw Suffolk said he was very pleased that Mid Suffolk District Council’s SnOasis Planning Committee agreed to extend his outline planning permission by five years, subject to approval by the Secretary of State.

However, the committee, which met in Needham Market yesterday, has imposed a number of conditions that must be met in order for the extension to stand.

An updated Section 106 agreement must also be submitted, which will outline improvements to the Copdock A12/A14 junction and recommend a similar bid to extend the time limit on the construction of a train station at the SnOasis site, which is subject to a separate planning application, also by OnSlow Suffolk.

The vast winter sports scheme was originally given outline planning permission by the Government in 2007 following a public inquiry and Mr Spanner was told he must submit detailed reserve matters plans for each element before any work could commence.

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But the new decision would help to phase the work, starting with site mitigation, including the moving of newts form ponds, then landscaping and draining work before any construction could start.

The first phase of building would be the ski dome - a huge indoor skiing structure embedded in a disused quarry and protruding into the sky - before an entertainment centre, five star hotel, log cabin complex, hostel, academy and ice rink can be built around it.

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Great Blakenham, Sproughton and Claydon and Whitton Parish Councils were all represented at the meeting and ward member John Field also spoke out against the project.

Mr Field said: “We have a new Government which is committed to ‘localism’ and giving people their view and in this case local people are clearly opposed to this development.”

But after the committee voted by a majority of eight to one to support the application, Mr Spanner said he was “delighted” and that it would help unlock vital funding.

He said work could begin in the spring of next year and the construction process would be complete and the attraction open by December 2014.

The decision will now be referred to the Secretary of State, which has three weeks to either approve or reject the committee decision.

Speaking after the meeting, committee member Andrew Stringer said there was still a long way to go before any work could start on the SnOasis site.

He said: “I’m glad that they have included the extension of time for the railway station but this has been going on for years and the original decision, as I said before, has an element of ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and they have to get on with it.”

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