SnOasis decision delayed

A DECISION on whether to allow a £300 million winter sports complex in Suffolk could be delayed by up to three months it can be revealed today.Godfrey Spanner, the developer behind the SnOasis project said the Government delays will cost him money and potentially jeopardise plans for Olympic training.

A DECISION on whether to allow a £300 million winter sports complex in Suffolk could be delayed by up to three months it can be revealed today.

Godfrey Spanner, the developer behind the SnOasis project said the Government delays will cost him money and potentially jeopardise plans for Olympic training.

The scheme, at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, will include a giant ski slope ice, rink, casino, nightclub, hotel, restaurants, railway station and hundreds of new homes.

Despite gaining Mid Suffolk District Council's backing the Government decided to call in the plans for an inquiry that ran for several weeks in Ipswich and heard from a string of experts representing developers, the council, and those with grave concerns.


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Now the Planning Inspectorate has said that a decision might not be made until next year, although a deadline has been set at no later than January 31, 2008.

A decision had originally been expected by the end of October.

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Mr Spanner said: “This is very disappointing, although at least we do know the latest we will hear now.

“The impact is that we will be in dire straits making a training camp for the 2012 Olympics - it's going to make it very tight for us.

“It was always my plan to open in 2011 to give us a year's grace, and we may still make early on in 2011, I just do not know.”

But residents of 13 villages campaigning against the plans, fearing it will ruin their quality of life with issues including more traffic and light pollution, welcomed the news.

John Williams, chairman of the Suffolk Community Alliance, said: “I am not at all surprised with the change of Ministers that there has been, it's a very complex application.

“There is a lot of detail to be studied and from the Alliance's point of view we like to think it will be looked at carefully before a decision is reached.”

Tim Passmore, leader of the district council, said: “This is just more uncertainty for people, this is totally unreasonable and unacceptable. It will now be three years since the original application was lodged and I was led to believe we would hear by the end of October.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that it was important to fully consider the matter, and it was no an unreasonable timescale.

A spokesman for The Planning Inspectorate said John Gray, the inspector who headed the inquiry, has been preparing his report and recommendation for the Secretary of State Hazel Blears consideration before she issues a decision on, or before, January 31.

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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