£500m Snoasis project takes step closer to construction
- Credit: Archant
Major proposals to build a huge £500million snow centre near Ipswich are a step closer because permission has been given for the council to agree financial terms with developers.
The controversial SnOasis development has been on and off the agenda for nearly 20 years - but plans moved closer to fruition last week after the decision to approve reserve matters was delegated to Suffolk’s chief planning officer, instead of going before a committee.
Once section 106 commitments, which set out compensation paid by developers to the local community to offset the impact of the project, are agreed the chief planning officer will be able to give the project the final green light after consideration.
The final decision was due to be discussed before a planning committee however, due to the coronavirus outbreak, it was decided that Suffolk’s chief planning officer would be given the final say as the plans are an “exceptional matter”.
In theory if the plans are given the final go-ahead, work on the half a billion pound project, which would see a professional level ski slope, ice rink and bobsleigh run brought to Suffolk, could start immediately.
However, there is still scepticism amongst many as to where the money to build the project would come from and it is not known when boots are scheduled to hit the ground.
David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “Since our planning committee resolved to grant planning permission for SnOasis last year, Mid Suffolk District Council and the developer have been working hard on a raft of measures and community benefits that would need to be agreed for construction to start.
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“These negotiations have been positive and fruitful, and are now nearing completion.
“We believe we’ll be in a position to announce the outcome of these discussions very soon.”
The SnOasis project could create 3,500 jobs during construction and a further 1,900 when it is fully operational.
Earmarked for a 350-acre site in Great Blakenham, SnOasis is scheduled to feature an entertainment centre with a casino, nightclub, pool hall and cinema - plus opportunities for shops, a hotel, hostel and chalets.
Andrew Stringer, County Councillor for Upper Gipping, said: “The Green Party are disappointed that the decision on an application such as this will not been made in a public forum.”