SnOasis plan still 'unlikely to go ahead', MP claims
PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 March 2019
A Suffolk MP has reassured concerned residents that plans to build a massive snow park in the Suffolk countryside are still unlikely to go ahead - despite a complete planning application being recommended for approval.
Dr Dan Poulter, who represents Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has spoken of his surprise at the plans continuing after he believed they were “dead and buried”.
The controversial SnOasis development, planned for a 350-acre site in Great Blakenham, has been on and off the agenda for nearly 20 years.
Yet a report prepared ahead of Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee later this month suggests funding is now in place for the huge £300m project.
Dr Poulter said: “It does strike me that a snow dome in rural Suffolk is a risk, and that is quite apparent for the majority of people.
“There are many better ways for the land to be used that I can think of. “The dome needs to be economically viable in the long term, and I do not think it will be. If the economic benefit was strong enough, it would have been built already.”
If the development gets the final go-ahead, the site would incorporate a snow dome with bobsleigh runs, ice wall and ski slopes as well as an entertainment dome offering a climbing wall, casino, nightclub and cinema. It would also house retail opportunities and a hotel.
The report, which will be discussed by the planning committee on March 13, says officers understand financial backing is in place – and that, if approved, the company could “have the entire facility capable of operation by the end of 2023”.
It states: “The submitted reserved matters applications represent a crucial step forward in the life of this long-standing project.”
The documents, submitted by development company DP9, outline the process for relocating newts from the site, the location of an education centre and the materials to be used on the buildings, amongst other details.
It is recommended members approve the plans provided, subject to finer details being agreed at a later date.
However, Dr Dan added: “I don’t think that residents should be unduly concerned.
“I still think that the plans are unlikely to go ahead.
“There has been a few housing developments in Great Blakenham and the surrounding areas recently and so there is a need for community services.
“There is a need in the area for schools, GP services and a new community hub or town hall, all of which would be more suitable for the site.”
Both the application agent, DP9, and developer Godfrey Spanner have both been approached for comment, but neither have responded.