Second protest balloon to be launched

SECURITY is to be beefed up around a balloon protesting against the SnOasis indoor ski slope after its huge helium predecessor mysteriously escaped and floated over the North Sea.

SECURITY is to be beefed up around a balloon protesting against the SnOasis indoor ski slope after its huge helium predecessor mysteriously escaped and floated over the North Sea.

SnOasis protestors pooled together to raise more than £2,000 to purchase the original yellow balloon and have it flown near the Great Blakenham quarry which is earmarked for the winter sports resort.

They had planned to use it to demonstrate the visual impact they say the £350million complex would have if built on the former Mason's quarry site but it only lasted a day before it floated away and the opponents, members of the SnOasis Concern action group, are convinced it was tampered with and released deliberately.

Suffolk Police have revealed they are not investigating as they don't think there are any malicious circumstances but SnOasis Concern member Tom Ambrose said: “There's absolutely no doubt someone released it. We'd gone through all the instructions and it was very, very securely fastened on the ground.

“Somebody out jogging saw a red car and saw two men leaving the car going towards the quarry.

“When posters put up about a month ago in Claydon were defaced that was connected with someone in a red car. It is possible they are linked.”

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SnOasis Concern is now organising the second balloon to be made and the group expects to take delivery of it next week.

Mr Ambrose said it could be in the air by early July but this time extra security measures would be in place.

He said: “It will be manned and it will probably have a steel cable up to a certain height. I don't think this will happen again when it is launched a second time.”

Government planning officers revealed this week that they needed more time to consider whether a public inquiry should be held into the proposals to build SnOasis. The GO East experts extended the 21-day deadline for their decision indefinitely.

Weblinks: www.snoasisconcern.com; www.snoasis.co.uk