Suffolk: Visionary behind multi-million pound SnOasis complex is declared bankrupt - but he pledges the winter sports project dream will still become reality

SUFFOLK: The visionary behind a multi-million pound winter sports complex project has today vowed it will still go ahead despite his bankruptcy, it can be exclusively revealed.

Mr Spanner, developer of the project to build a large winter sports complex in Great Blakenham, was declared bankrupt on March 14 this year. A trustee will take control of his assets, which can include personal property, until March 14 next year.

According to documents registered at Companies House, Mr Spanner has also resigned as a company director of Onslow Suffolk Ltd on February 21. Co-director Peter Frohlich is also bankrupt and has resigned as both a director and the company secretary of Onslow Suffolk Ltd.

Both men would have had to resign as it is an offence for someone who is bankrupt to act as a company director, unless a court has given permission.

Mr Spanner said he will act as an adviser to the companies involved in delivering SnOasis, claiming “SnOasis will continue to go ahead.”


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He added: “SnOasis is on course.

“The position I find myself in is nothing to do with SnOasis. I had a choice of paying an enormous amount of money back or not paying an enormous amount of money.”

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Outline planning permission to build on the former quarry site has been agreed and expires in three years’ time. Officials at the council have been waiting for detailed proposals to be submitted.

Whether the construction of SnOasis will go ahead remains to be seen, although critics of it have always been unconvinced that there is sufficient funding for such an ambitious project.

Some of those with links to SnOasis were unaware that the situation had changed.

George Woodward, managing director of EWS chartered surveyors, which has been involved in the project, said: “As far as we were concerned, it was business as usual.”

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk District Council said they had not been notified of any change in Mr Spanner’s personal circumstances.

She said: “Planning permission runs with the land and is not dependent on the individual. It could be implemented subject to the section 106 agreement [conditions].”

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk Council added: “If the site gets sold, then the new owner would be welcome to proceed with the planning permission. If they wanted to do something else with the land, we would be happy to look at any application.

“I do understand the disappointment [some may feel] because an inward investment of millions would be good for economic development.

“If this is the case we need to get over this disappointment. Whatever happens with the site, we need to get economic growth because if there is no money coming in, we are going to end up with problems.”

Andrew Stringer, a Green Party county councillor and member of the SnOasis Planning Control Committee, said: “The committee has been ready and there were a team of planning officers ready to work on this but they are now working on other projects. The plans have not been forthcoming.”

The Star did try to make contact with Mr Frohlich but was not able to do so. Onslow Suffolk Ltd was also unavailable to comment.

n What do you think about this story? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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