New homes pledge from SnOasis

DEVELOPERS behind Suffolk's �300 million SnOasis winter sports complex today pledged to boost Suffolk's Fightback from recession - and bring more affordable homes to the county.

DEVELOPERS behind Suffolk's �300 million SnOasis winter sports complex today pledged to boost Suffolk's Fightback from recession - and bring more affordable homes to the county.

Amid economic downturn and a sluggish housing market, Onslow Suffolk has pledged to undertake the construction of 145 social housing units after residential partner Persimmon opted out.

Onslow agreed with Persimmon to take on the build despite the current financial climate in order to keep the project firmly on schedule - with work on the social housing expected to begin in autumn.

At that rate, and with construction expected to last 30 months, SnOasis would be ready to open in the spring of 2013.

Godfrey Spanner, managing director of Onslow Suffolk, said: “We made a decision to take it on because, with the overall housing market being in its current state, it would be very unlikely that any house builder would wish to embark on such a project - particularly as they rely on private housing to subsidise the affordable homes. These are a loss leader.

“As the market is not set to restore itself in the near future but progressively over some three or four years, it is unlikely that Persimmon or any other house builder would be able to pay to Onslow the sums that were envisaged while waiting for planning consent.

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“As those proceeds would have been used to kick start SnOasis, this has had a knock on effect on the proposed level of funding for the project and this is now being renegotiated.”

The cost of the affordable homes will be in the region �45m with no return to Onslow. However, the homes are an obligatory condition under Section 106 of the planning permission granted last year.

As a result, Mr Spanner's company will consider undertaking the first phase of the private element of the housing proposal to claw back the cash.

He said: “Onslow is determined to continue in its commitment to Great Blakenham and Suffolk as a whole.

“We promised to deliver and therefore we intend to do so.”

Once complete, SnOasis is expected to provide around 2,500 full and part-time jobs with up to 1,500 people employed on site at any one time during the construction phase.

Are you supportive of SnOasis? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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