SnOasis dream under threat

SUFFOLK'S SnOasis dream is today hanging in the balance, with the developers admitting alternative uses are being considered for the site.The £320million project, planned for the former cement works in Great Blakenham, has suffered a series of delays since its conception more than three years ago.

SUFFOLK'S SnOasis dream is today hanging in the balance, with the developers admitting alternative uses are being considered for the site.

The £320million project, planned for the former cement works in Great Blakenham, has suffered a series of delays since its conception more than three years ago.

The latest has seen Mid Suffolk District Council confirm it will not be ready to consider the application in April.

Godfrey Spanner, of developers Onslow Suffolk Ltd, has consistently warned such hold-ups could jeopardise the scheme.

Now he has admitted he is seriously considering using the 350-acre site for other purposes.

These include continuing to excavate it for minerals, or using it for landfill or incineration.

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Each option could create instant income for the developers, but Mr Spanner maintains he still wants the winter sports resort to go ahead.

He said: "Left to me, I'm 100 per cent sure this would happen. But left to the machinery and processes that are going on at the moment, I just don't know.

"I can't believe we're in the position we are after three-and-a-half-years of partnership with the council.

"I'm seriously considering other approaches we've had about the site."

Mr Spanner said it had been indicated to him that the plans, which also include a 500-home development, would hinge on the bid for a train station being accepted.

But the Strategic Rail Authority, which runs the network, has said a new station would only be built in "exceptional" circumstances.

Mr Spanner said: "I'm three-and-a-half years down the line and I've been pretty patient.

"We've co-operated with them throughout and the train station has never been a criteria."

But John Lawson, planning consultant working on the application for Mid Suffolk District Council, disputed this.

He said: "It has always been the policy position that any major leisure-based residential development has to be supported by a suitable public transport infrastructure, including a train station."

He said everything possible has been done to speed the process, but there are still outstanding issues needing to addressed by the developers before the plans can be considered.

No new date has yet been fixed to consider the plans.

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