SnOasis decision could take months

PARTIES battling over the SnOasis ski complex are today coming to terms with the fact they may have an agonising wait into next year before they learn of its fate.

PARTIES battling over the SnOasis ski complex are today coming to terms with the fact they may have an agonising wait into next year before they learn of its fate.

Planning inspector John Gray revealed that it may take more than six months for his report to be prepared and for the government rule on whether the giant winter sports resort should be built at Great Blakenham.

Mr Gray said that it would be almost another month until the public inquiry into SnOasis and the applications for a 421-home development and new railway station in the village was officially closed.

He told the inquiry yesterday : “The Secretary of State is possibly unlikely to make a decision before the end of this year.”


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The announcement came after Onslow Suffolk, the developers behind the £300million leisure complex, issued their closing arguments during the inquiry's final day of public hearings at Ipswich town hall.

Rupert Warren, the barrister acting for Onslow Suffolk and Persimmon Homes - the company behind the housing development application - told Mr Gray: “The SnOasis proposal is a unique development to Suffolk and indeed has no precedent nationally.

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“The scheme will constitute a recreation and leisure facility of at the very least regional importance, and arguably national importance.

“SnOasis will provide a sensational new facility for recreation, sport and tourism in the region. Its scope simply dwarfs what might be described as existing competition.”

If built, the SnOasis complex would see the construction of a giant indoor ski slope on the site of the former Mason's quarry. Also in the complex would be a winter sports academy, ice skating rink, ice climbing wall and other winter sports facilities as well as a hotel, chalet complex, restaurants, cinema, nightclub and retail shops.

The housing complex is proposed for the adjacent Blue Circle cement works site.

Opponents say the developments would create traffic chaos, damage the environment and create an eyesore on the landscape but Mid Suffolk District Council, which gave all three applications outline planning approval last year, Suffolk County Council and a string of business, tourism and sporting groups say it would provide a massive economic boost to the area.

Mr Gray is due to officially close the inquiry on June 18. He will then recommend to the government whether the developments should go ahead.

Do you think SnOasis should be built? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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