Major delay to SnOasis decision
SUPPORTERS of the planned SnOasis sports complex are today facing an even longer wait before learning of its fate.A final decision on whether to approve the complex at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, has been further delayed after the government asked for more information from the developers.
SUPPORTERS of the planned SnOasis sports complex are today facing an even longer wait before learning of its fate.
A final decision on whether to approve the complex at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, has been further delayed after the government asked for more information from the developers.
Secretary of state for communities Hazel Blears wants to know more about the scheme's green credentials before she decides on whether to give the go-ahead.
The application for the new leisure complex, which would be built by Onslow Suffolk was the subject of a major planning inquiry early in 2007.
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Godfrey Spanner, Onslow's managing director, said he was extremely disappointed by the delay to the project.
He said: “I'm very upset, I just can't believe the position that we're in.
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“After a full public inquiry, two public exhibitions, two years in the planning office and six months of public consultation, I find this decision quite remarkable and quite frankly absurd.
“The inspector went to great lengths and it was a very proper inquiry, we have done everything they've asked for.”
Mr Spanner added that the further delays would almost certainly rule out SnOasis having a role in the 2012 Olympics and that it would also add to the company's costs.
Meanwhile John Williams, chairman of the SnOasis Community Alliance which opposes SnOasis, said he welcomed the delay if it meant a more thorough analysis of the application would be undertaken.
He said: “I'm pleased that more time is being taken to study it. It was a very complex application. Our job was to test an application which we felt had not been properly tested.
“The issues the secretary of state has raised to look into are serious issues so I am happy that they are getting more consideration.
“I am not upset at the delay.”
Are you annoyed at the delay over the SnOasis decision? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail email@example.com.
The letter to developers
Secretary of State for Communities Hazel Blears has asked Onslow Suffolk to provide her with more information before she makes a decision about SnOasis.
She has also written to Mid Suffolk District Council and other interested parties to ask for their views.
The issues she wants addressed are:
Whether SnOasis meets the objectives in the new government planning policy statement 'Planning and Climate Change'.
Clarification on how renewable and low-carbon energy would be used in the development.
Reassurance that Onslow would be content with a requirement that the ski-slope itself would be built before any other buildings.
Clarification about the way the estimated number of visitors to the site was arrived at.
Ideas on how the development might overcome impact on biodiversity.
She also asks Permission Homes, which wants to build 421 homes as part of the development on the nearby Blue Circle cement works site, if it would still create grassland were the SnOasis development to be refused.
SnOasis is a £350million winter sports resort on the site of the former Mason's quarry.
If built, it will include a main indoor ski slope, 475 metres long with a 100-metre vertical drop, a nine-hole golf course, a 350-room four-star hotel, a casino, nightclub, restaurants, conference centre, 350 chalets for guests, an ice rink, bobsleigh ride and a range of other leisure facilities.
It would become one of Britain's biggest leisure complexes.
The £13million railway station proposed for the village would help to ferry some of the expected 700,000 visitors to and from the sports complex each year.
Persimmon Homes' 421-home development would be built adjacent to SnOasis, on the site of the former Blue Circle cement works.
It would be built in two phases, which could see the construction of a new primary school.
The housing development, which will include 30 per cent affordable housing, could be built even if SnOasis does not go ahead.