SnOasis wins county council support

SNOASIS - the £320million winter sports resort planned for Suffolk - has moved a step closer with backing from the county council.But councillors have added a holding objection until the Highways Agency confirms its requirements for improvements to the A14 to support the Great Blakenham-based development.

By Jonathan Barnes

SNOASIS - the £320million winter sports resort planned for Suffolk - has moved a step closer with backing from the county council.

But councillors have added a holding objection until the Highways Agency confirms its requirements for improvements to the A14 to support the Great Blakenham-based development.

Mid Suffolk District Council is due to decide whether to grant planning permission to SnOasis - and related bids for a new railway station and more than 400 homes - on April 20.


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Yesterday, the county council's cabinet gave their support to the plans, with a number of conditions, including an entrance fee ensuring SnOasis facilites are only used by guests, that landfill capacity in the area is extended and that a greater wildlife protection is offered.

The council's director of transport, Lucy Robinson, will withdraw the holding objection if satisfied an effective road scheme, improving junctions on the A14, can be agreed with the Highways Agency.

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Opponents to the development expressed their dismay that the impact of traffic on the road network and the effect on the environment and residents' quality of life “had not been fully considered”.

But Godfrey Spanner, managing director of SnOasis developer Onslow Suffolk, said the protests were “pretty worn-out arguments” and added he was confident of the Highways Agency's approval to satisfy councillors.

“There was nothing new in the debate today. I've heard these arguments for four years and they haven't changed, while our plans and applications have changed dramatically over that period of time.”

Mr Spanner dismissed as “nonsense” any suggestions the resort, based on a former cement works, would only be open to holidaymakers and not local people.

During the meeting, John Field, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Gipping Valley, said SnOasis was “an unwanted development with doubtful economic benefit”.

Speaking afterwards, John Williams, chairman of the SnOasis Parish Group, which represents 15 surrounding villages, said: “There will be far more traffic than suggested and very little has come out so far on what kind of compensation there will be for the 15 villages.”

SnOasis, which is expected to attract 650,000 visitors a year and create more than 2,000 jobs, will boast a 500metre-long piste, a nine-hole golf course, 18 restaurants, a nightclub, an eight-screen cinema, 350 self-catering lodges and a four-star, 350-bed hotel. The related applications are for a new railway station in Great Blakenham, a housing development for 432 homes and the provision for a new primary school.

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