SnOasis dream moves step closer

NEGOTIATIONS over the main contract to build the �300 million SnOasis winter sports complex in Suffolk are nearing completion, it emerged today.

NEGOTIATIONS over the main contract to build the �300 million SnOasis winter sports complex in Suffolk are nearing completion, it emerged today.

Godfrey Spanner, of Onslow Suffolk, said work on the construction phase was expected to start towards the end of October and would last 30 months, with the centre due to be ready to open in the spring of 2013.

Under the terms of planning consent for the development, the main snow dome and conference facility are due to be built first, followed by the visitor accommodation - totalling 3,500 beds - and associated services including 17 bars and restaurants.

Work is also due to start in the autumn on 45 social housing units which Onslow is undertaking itself, with its residential partner Persimmon being unwilling to start work in the current economic climate.


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However, work on another kind of accommodation is due to begin on the site, under a separate contract, as early as next month - in the form of 36 new ponds to relocate a colony of newts which has to be moved to make way for the main scheme.

Mr Spanner said the main contract would include a requirement for at least three East Anglian-based contractors to be awarded work.

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Once completed, Onslow plans to retain ownership of the complex but will not run any aspect of it directly, with a management company being appointed to run the infrastructure of the park, with responsibility for areas such as IT, security and admission.

Two potential operators - one British and one German - are in the running for the right to run the main snow dome and two parties are also willing to sign-up to run the 350-bedroom four star hotel planned as part of the guest accommodation.

Talks are also taking place with major food retailers about operating a convenience store on the site - with much of the accommodation being self-catering - and an international mix of operators is being sought for the bars and restaurants.

Operators are already in place for the anchor retail store within the complex (skiing and climbing equipment specialist Snow + Rock), a bowling alley and a cinema. A post office, a library and a hair salon also feature in the plans.

Once completed, SnOasis is expected to provide around 2,500 full and part-time jobs with up to 1,500 people employed on site at any one time during the construction phase.

Are you looking forward to the arrival of SnOasis? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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