Council relishes international potential

SNOASIS will make Mid Suffolk an area of international significance, the chief executive of the local authority said today.Mid Suffolk District Council's Tim Passmore said the £400million injection into the economy that the winter sports complex would bring would help to deliver massive benefits to the area.

Grant Sherlock

SNOASIS will make Mid Suffolk an area of international significance, the chief executive of the local authority said today.

Mid Suffolk District Council's Tim Passmore said the £400million injection into the economy that the winter sports complex would bring would help to deliver massive benefits to the area.

He said: “It has to be good news for Suffolk as a whole, Mid Suffolk in particular, and also for the region.

“It's a huge investment. The impact on the economy really does put Suffolk, and Mid Suffolk in particular, on the map.”

Not only will Great Blakenham be home to Europe's largest indoor ski slope but it will also double in size with the construction of a 421-home housing development by Persimmon and would get a new railway station - paid for by SnOasis' developers Onslow Suffolk if the resort went ahead - which would dramatically improve transport links.

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Mr Passmore said the council was “very, very pleased” the government had backed all three developments two years after its own planning referral committee gave them outline planning permission.

He said the task now was to allay the concerns of those residents who remain opposed to SnOasis.

He said: “Obviously there are concerns of people locally. There are concerns about congestion, the A14 clearly needs to be upgraded for other reasons as well as SnOasis.

“We need to work with these people and if there are issues we feel can be addressed of course we will do that.”

Ipswich Borough Council chief executive James Hehir said: “SnOasis will not only be a top international attraction; it will also bring much needed jobs and homes to the area.”

But others did not share the council's joy at the government's decision.

Suffolk Preservation Society maintained that the Great Blakenham quarry earmarked for SnOasis was a “totally unsustainable site”.

Richard Ward, the society's director, said: “This government has said it would deliver sustainable development, this flies absolutely in the face of that commitment.”