SnOasis decision too big, says MP

A SUFFOLK MP today claimed Mid Suffolk council does not have the "expertise" to consider the £320million SnOasis project.Sir Michael Lord, who represents central Suffolk and north Ipswich, believes the ambitious scheme should be considered at national level.

A SUFFOLK MP today claimed Mid Suffolk council does not have the "expertise" to consider the £320million SnOasis project.

Sir Michael Lord, who represents central Suffolk and north Ipswich, believes the ambitious scheme should be considered at national level. He has written to deputy prime minister John Prescott asking him to call in the application.

Although not opposed to the Great Blakenham scheme in principal, Sir Michael believes the impact on the surrounding area has to be fully considered.

He said the impact on the road infrastructure, in particular, needs "careful, thorough and expert study before the go-ahead is given".

Mid Suffolk District Council is currently considering three applications linked to the SnOasis project.

These are bids for a 530-home development, a train station and the winter sports resort, planned for the former Blue Circle Cement Works site.

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Sir Michael said: "A matter of this size demands more time and expertise than is available at district council level.

"On the face of it this is a very interesting and exciting project which could bring employment, tourism and many advantages to the Great Blakenham area.

"However, it must be looked at in the most careful way, at the highest level, to avoid making serious mistakes which may have a long-lasting impact on this part of Suffolk.

"Nothing will be lost by calling it in. If it is a sound proposal it will get the go-ahead and everyone concerned can be satisfied it's been thoroughly examined. If serious problems are encountered then clearly everyone concerned will have to have second thoughts."

A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk District Council acknowledged Sir Michael's comments.

She said: "This procedure must follow the relevant legislation, which entitles Mid Suffolk District Council to consider the application as a departure from planning policy and either refuse it or state that it's minded to approve it.

"The local government office, Go-East, will then have a role in considering whether to recommend to the office of the deputy prime minister whether a call-in should be made.

"Ultimately, it's the minister's decision. He can then return the application to Mid Suffolk District Council or he can call a full public enquiry, held by an inspector of the planning inspectorate."

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

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