Lord Mandelson urged to save SnOasis

BUSINESS leaders in Suffolk are pressuring the government to cut through red tape which could drag SnOasis off the slopes once and for all.

Simon Tomlinson

BUSINESS leaders in Suffolk are pressuring the government to cut through red tape which could drag SnOasis off the slopes once and for all.

The last-ditch move comes after the man behind the winter sports complex warned he may have to abandon the �300million project because of bureaucratic hold-ups.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce says it is lobbying hard to make sure new legislation, which could resurrect the project, goes through as planned in October.

The controversial development, earmarked at Great Blakenham, was given the go-ahead last November, paving the way for 3,500 construction jobs and nearly 2,000 permanent posts.

However, not a single brick has been laid due to a planning condition demanding full approval on all aspects of construction before work can begin.

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Godfrey Spanner, managing director of Onslow Suffolk, is now pinning his hopes on the possible introduction of Local Development Orders, which will give authorities the power to waive such conditions.

Tony Addison, director of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “We understand the entire SnOasis project is currently in jeopardy and are citing SnOasis as an excellent example of how government legislation and red tape can have a detrimental effect on the local, regional and national economy.

“SnOasis is a vital landmark project which is crucially important for the Suffolk economy. The Chamber advocates that we need to see a radical streamlining of the planning process.”

Meanwhile Choose Suffolk, a public/private sector partnership which promotes the economic prosperity of the county, has written to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson over fears the collapse would be a “lost opportunity”.

Chief executive Celia Hodson said: “We are working hard to explore all our political contacts to make sure this development happens.

“If the SnOasis project continues to suffer from ongoing delays, there's a real chance that this could be a huge lost opportunity for Suffolk.

“The project is currently unique in the UK and it would be a great loss for the county if a developer in another part of the country was able to capitalise on this situation and drive a similar project forwards elsewhere.

“Further prospects exist through exploring the opportunities presented by the Winter Olympics in 2010 and the reciprocal benefits of twinning the area with another European country.”

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