May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Friday, November 2, 2012
THE Department for Transport has said it is waiting for an important document detailing the railway station plan for the £300million SnOasis project, despite the developer being “confident” work will start soon.
Godfrey Spanner, manager of Onslow Suffolk Ltd, the company behind the plans for the site in Great Blakenham, claims there is just one last hurdle to jump in the project’s 12-year history.
He said he was expecting to hear from the Government over whether a railway was to be included in the plans for the region’s next rail franchise “before the end of the year”.
But a spokesman for the Department for Transport said they were still waiting on a document from Mr Spanner detailing the “financial and operational plan” for the station following a meeting they had “two to three months ago”.
“Weather permitting, we shall start work in January,” Mr Spanner said.
“I’m now confident that the work will start and that it will be completed by 2015. There’s nothing else in the way, we have now crossed all the bridges and all the hurdles – it’s the last thing we needed. Contractors are ready, the designs are being finalised.
“If all goes well we will hear before the end of the year,” he added.
He said he was working with the Department for Transport to bring a revised business plan “up to speed”.
Mr Spanner has said in the past that financiers were unwilling to back the complex until he could give them assurances the station was to be built.
He said the railway station, expected to cost £18million, would need to be operating six months prior to Snoasis opening.
Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council said he is looking for a “cast-iron guarantee” from the Government that a new railway station was certain to be built.
Mr Spanner said he would expect work to begin on the new railway station in mid to late 2014.