Stowmarket Train Station to receive £3m boost from SnOasis project
PUBLISHED: 07:30 06 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 06 April 2019
Stowmarket Train Station is set to receive a huge £3million boost as part of a project to build a half a billion pound snow centre in mid Suffolk.
As a part of Snoasis, a project to build winter sports and entertainment facilities in a disused quarry in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, local transport links will need to be improved and Stowmarket station is set to be one of the big winners.
Early work on the controversial project, which received backing from Mid Suffolk Council’s planning committee last month, could start by the end of 2019, however approval from the council depends on developers DP9, completing set criteria.
Originally, plans had been approved by the Secretary of State during a 2008 public inquiry on condition that a new station was built in Great Blakenham to service the site. However, efforts to agree an extra stop along the Norwich to London Liverpool Street line with Greater Anglia were unsuccessful.
At a planning meeting in March at Endeavour House, DP9 set out their plans to use Stowmarket as the main rail access point with shuttle bus services transporting passengers to and from Snoasis, a journey lasting approximately 15 minutes.
Independent councillor, Gerard Brewster, said: “I think that the improvements to the train station that will come from the SnOasis project are a good thing for the local community.
“It will increase the foot fall through the station and we are working on new signs to direct people to areas of town where there are lots of businesses which could benefit from the station’s improvements.”
The £3m is planned to go towards better accessibility between the current platforms allowing passengers to change trains more effectively.
The station will also benefit from part of a new £300m which has been set aside by the government to improve disabled access to stations across the UK.
Steve Plume, Chairman of the SnOasis Parish Alliance said: “We don’t think that plans to improve Stowmarket Train Station and then run a bus service to SnOasis is an effective alternative to the original plans in Great Blakenham.
“Running a bus service to a station which isn’t open very late when there will be a nightclub and a casino at Snoasis for us isn’t sufficient.”
Councillor Andrew Stringer, said: “It’s interesting how the train station for this project is getting further and further away from the site.
“They are using this £3m for the train station to soften the blow for the local community that there isn’t going to be a station in Great Blakenham.”