Leisure oasis for Blue circle site

NEW rail links and a ski slope are at the centre of multi-million pound plans to redevelop the former Blue Circle site, it was revealed today.Around 1,000 jobs could be created at a resort set to rival Center Parcs in a proposal for the Great Blakenham site, which could also get a station as part of the re-development of the former cement works.

By Paul Geater

NEW rail links and a ski slope are at the centre of multi-million pound plans to redevelop the former Blue Circle site, it was revealed today.

Around 1,000 jobs could be created at a resort set to rival Center Parcs in a proposal for the Great Blakenham site, which could also get a station as part of the re-development of the former cement works.

A developer wants to develop the site as a ski resort attracting up to three million visitors a year and has included the station in its plan.

There was a station on the site – called Claydon although it was in Blakenham – which was closed by Lord Beeching in 1963.

The proposed development is aimed to be environmentally friendly – a major departure from the former occupant of the site.

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Residents mounted a long campaign against Blue Circle when it started burning liquid waste as they feared the fumes from the landmark chimney were a health hazard.

The ski centre is being promoted by Snoasis Ltd, which wants to develop an ice-rink as well as an indoor ski slope within an active leisure destination resort.

The snow centre would sit alongside the existing waste land-fill site currently owned and occupied by Viridor.

The "centre of excellence" would make "proper" snow and ice using renewable energy and Snoasis believe that, "the possibility of year-round ski-ing in Suffolk would become a reality," if their plans are accepted. The resort would provide employment for about 1,000 people.

There would need to be a hotel and ancillary facilities, including a railway station alongside the mainline at Great Blakenham, to cater for the potential 250,000 visitors a month that the developers believe the site could attract.

The leisure resort is just one proposal for the site, which is currently going through Mid-Suffolk's local plan process.

Another proposal, which has been termed an "Energy Village," is being considered. A similar project has already helped to rebuild a coalfield community in Nottinghamshire, providing jobs as well as cheap and plentiful electricity and heat to surrounding businesses and homes.

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