SnOasis background: The battle and site
SnOasis background:The battle:-Suffolk's battle over SnOasis began several years ago, with passionate arguments emerging on both sides of the debate.
Suffolk's battle over SnOasis began several years ago, with passionate arguments emerging on both sides of the debate.
Supporters of the project say it would bring unprecedented benefits to the local economy and the tourist sector while opponents fear roads would become choked with traffic, light pollution from the huge ski slope structure would blight the night sky.
They also fear rare species would be harmed and the local environment would suffer.
The arguments for and against reached their peak in April 2006 when Mid Suffolk District Council's planning referral committee backed SnOasis, the adjacent 421-home housing development and the new railway station for Great Blakenham.
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And again last year the debate raged when planning inspector John Gray held a public inquiry at Ipswich Corn Exchange into whether the developments should go ahead.
That inquiry was held after the government called the applications in - giving it the option of overruling the district council - because of their magnitude and potential impact on the Great Blakenham area.
Onslow Suffolk spent years searching for a suitable site for a new winter sports complex close to London.
The site at Great Blakenham was formerly a quarry and cement works, known as Mason's Quarry. Onslow viewed the site as an ideal site for such a
development and the only viable site it could find in the south eastern region, where the majority of regular skiers live.
The site's classification as a brownfield site, its terrain, which favours the downhill ski slope, and the road and rail access all led Onslow to the view that Great Blakenham was the best location for its winter sports complex.