SnOasis granted extra time to begin building
PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 September 2010
PLANNING officials have recommended that the team behind the controversial SnOasis project be given extra time to start building work, a move that would unlock millions of pounds in funding.
Godfrey Spanner, of developers Onslow Suffolk, said that if the SnOasis planning committee agrees to grant the five-year time extension, as recommended, when it meets next week the beleaguered project will get the “green light” it needs.
Because only one time extension can be sought for any planning application, officers have recommended that the permission be granted for an additional five years rather than the two initially requested by Onslow Suffolk.
Planners have also recommended a “phasing” process for the work in Great Blakenham, which could help speed up the build after Onslow Suffolk was originally told detailed reserved matters plans for the entire project must be submitted before any construction work could begin.
Mr Spanner said the recommendations were exactly what he was hoping for and would bring the whole scheme “to fulfilment”.
He said: “It’s been a very frustrating two years, particularly knowing that if we had it two years ago we would be well out of the ground now.
“This kick-starts the whole thing and will be the green light. We expected to be given two years but they have decided to give us five, which puts it beyond doubt.”
He said getting the additional time would help unlock much of the funding that had previously been committed with conditions by investors.
Officers noted that although there had been some adjustments to the original application, including a new environmental assessment, there was nothing that warranted any cause for concern that had not been addressed during the public inquiry.
They concluded: “There have not been any significant changes in policy or other material considerations to warrant a conclusion other than to recommend that an extension of time be granted.”
The impact of the phasing recommendation could be as significant as the time extension.
The first phase would be to submit details of the plans to relocate newts in ponds and the second phase would be “civils, drainage and structural landscaping”.
The third would be the submission of the full design and external appearance of the ski dome before details of the entertainment dome, hotel, apartments, academy, ice rink and other features be submitted in separate phases.