Villagers criticise SnOasis development

By John HowardVILLAGERS have criticised the planned £320million SnOasis winter sports complex, claiming it would be built on largely agricultural land.

By John Howard

VILLAGERS have criticised the planned £320million SnOasis winter sports complex, claiming it would be built on largely agricultural land.

Mid Suffolk District Council has received three planning applications relating to the SnOasis development, earmarked for Great Blakenham, near Ipswich.

If approved, they would create the £320m winter sports complex, a new railway station and 537 homes, shops and community facilities.

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Campaigners opposed to SnOasis visited the proposed development site at the weekend and took a series of photographs in an attempt to show the majority of the resort would be built on largely agricultural land.

They included villagers, parish councillors and John Williams, chairman of the 14-strong Suffolk Parish Group that consists of all the parish councils in the immediate vicinity of the site.

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The developers behind the SnOasis proposal said the site was largely a working mine, former quarry and Blue Circle cement works.

However, the campaigners said the land that was formerly part of the Blue Circle site had been effectively and sympathetically restored and felt it would be a backward step to concrete over the site.

Bill Chowns, chairman of Barham Parish Council, said: “What became clear at the Barham and Claydon public meeting was that the vast majority of local people believe that the resort would be built in the deep chalk section of the pit, which is largely taken up by the Viridor landfill site.

“In fact, the majority of the construction will take place on the restored agricultural land to the west of the pit.”

One resident Graham Brand, said environmental issues were just one of a number of major problems he and his family would face if SnOasis went ahead.

The family live within yards of the proposed entrance to the winter sports complex, while the 537-home estate planned by Persimmon Homes would be built on land immediately behind his home.

He said: “One can only question what is going to eventually happen for the roads could become almost impassable if the potential additional volumes are as we believe them to be. Life is already tough enough without these additional problems.”

Godfrey Spanner, managing director SnOasis developers Onslow Suffolk Ltd, said the site was still an active quarry and added the land would be open to the public if the project was given the go-ahead by Mid Suffolk District Council.

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