Massive leisure scheme still on track

BACKERS of the £300 million SnOasis dream earmarked for Great Blakenham today vowed not to be side-tracked by opposition to a new railway station.Network Rail believes it would add journey times to current routes and clog up existing and future timetables.

BACKERS of the £300 million SnOasis dream earmarked for Great Blakenham today vowed not to be side-tracked by opposition to a new railway station.

Network Rail believes it would add journey times to current routes and clog up existing and future timetables.

But the idea has the backing of Mid Suffolk District Council, who last night said they would do anything they could to support the proposal.

Councillor Wendy Marchant said: "The council has said it will do whatever it can to support it. It's the biggest thing that's happening in mid Suffolk and it would be of national and international importance.


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"We think it's important we get this railway station. There's already a line running through and we don't think it would cause many problems to add a new platform.

"It's disappointing Network Rail doesn't support a station because this is going to be a big development and it needs as much public transport as it can get."

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She added such a facility has been suggested for Bramford and Claydon for many years.

Godfrey Spanner, director of Onslow, which owns most of the land under consideration, said he is "delighted" with the council's attitude.

"The council is clearly following the results of public discussions and it is having high regard for what the general public has said.

"We still want a railway station and I believe we'll get a good hearing. We shall concentrate every effort on getting that facility in place because it's important to the scheme. We can live without it but we definitely want it."

A response from the Strategic Rail Authority has yet to be received, although it is hoped they will give a more positive reaction to it, which would over-ride the view of Network Rail.

More than 30 local organisations and businesses and a dozen residents submitted their views on the scheme during the supplementary planning guidance stage. These were collated into a 36-page report presented to the council last night.

The vast majority of representations were positive, although improvements to the current road network, including the Copdock Interchange and other areas of the A14, were suggested to cope with the massive influx of visitors the facility could expect to attract.

Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council were among those calling for a full transport assessment to be carried out.

The local plan will now be altered over the weeks to include the scheme, while submissions will be made to the East of England Regional Assembly to request such a facility be included as an aim for the region.

Mr Spanner added he was "adamant" a full application would be made by the end of the year, unless he received "very strong" advice to the contrary.

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