SnOasis nears funding for homes plan

THE start of work on the new homes element of the SnOasis development has moved a step closer to reality after it was shortlisted for �8.5million of Government funding.

Elliot Furniss

THE start of work on the new homes element of the SnOasis development has moved a step closer to reality after it was shortlisted for �8.5million of Government funding.

Proposals for the housing section of the grand winter sports complex in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, were submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council last month by developer Godfrey Spanner, of Onslow Suffolk Ltd, who said site preparation would begin by the end of the year.

The papers are currently being assessed by the council's planning team but Mr Spanner will be encouraged by the news that the project has been included on a shortlist for the Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) special Kickstart scheme.

Last night, Mr Spanner, who has outline planning permission for the entire scheme, was unavailable for comment.

The Kickstart scheme is aimed at helping developers to proceed with stalled housing developments, but a crucial criteria in deciding whether or not shortlisted projects go on to get funding is whether building work can be completed by March 2012.

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Dozens of projects across the Eastern region have been shortlisted for collective funding worth �73million.

There are many other developments from Suffolk and Essex on the list, including three sites in Ipswich - the former NCP car park, the Redrow Ipswich project and phase two of the Hayhills Allotments.

The shortlisted schemes will now be assessed by the DCLG but last night town MP Chris Mole hailed the decision to invest �4.5million to boost the town's trio of stalled schemes.

Mr Mole said: “This is excellent news for Ipswich. It is good for those first-time buyers trying to get a foot on the housing ladder, and really good for local builders and apprentices as it will boost the local housing market.

“I know that a key criterion for schemes to be given the final go-ahead is that building work can be completed by March 2012.

“Bearing this in mind, I will be pressing both the developers and my colleagues in Government to make sure that these schemes get final approval in Ipswich.”

The Government funding is being issued on tough terms for developers, who have to commit to repaying 50% of the funding provided and will also be required to pledge to hire local contractors and significant numbers of local apprentices.