Snoasis to help economy, claims expert

SNOASIS would deliver a huge jobs boost to Suffolk and help restructure its economy away from declining industries, a finance expert told a public inquiry today.

SNOASIS would deliver a huge jobs boost to Suffolk and help restructure its economy away from declining industries, a finance expert told a public inquiry today.

Karl Eddy, partner at Grant Thornton UK's Project Finance Team, told day two of the SnOasis public inquiry that the huge winter sports complex was a viable business and would have major benefits for the region.

Giving evidence before planning inspector John Gray at Ipswich Corn Exchange, Mr Eddy said: “Once operational it is anticipated that SnOasis will employ the equivalent of 1,470 full time equivalent jobs.

“We believe the project delivers an acceptable rate of return to the shareholders.”


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Mr Eddy was the second witness to give evidence at what is expected to be a five-week inquiry.

Mr Gray has been appointed by the government to consider whether the £350million SnOasis scheme, a nearby 421 Persimmon Homes development and a new railway station should be built at Great Blakenham.

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Mid Suffolk District Council gave the proposals the go ahead last year but the government has ruled it will have the final say.

In evidence he presented to the inquiry Mr Eddy said Suffolk's economy was lagging behind due to an over-dependence on manufacturing and other traditional sectors. He said SnOasis would help Suffolk develop its economy and catch up to the national average.

He said: “The Suffolk economy is primarily a low-wage, low-skill economy. The percentage of the workforce employed in manufacturing is substantially higher than the national average while the percentage in the service sector is much lower.

“SnOasis by supporting new employment creation in the tourism sector will assist in restructuring the economy and support higher levels of employment.”

The inquiry heard that in total 1,952 full time equivalent jobs would be created in the UK if SnOasis went ahead.

It was told SnOasis would have 1,130 permanent full time equivalent staff and would attract 630,000 visitors a year who would spend nearly £70million each year during their stay at SnOasis. During the peak of construction activity 1,000 jobs would be created.

The inquiry continues.

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