SnOasis work set to start

AN Irish investment group has been given the go-ahead to build Suffolk's £300million indoor winter sports complex following full planning approval for SnOasis.

Tom Potter

AN Irish investment group has been given the go-ahead to build Suffolk's £300million indoor winter sports complex following full planning approval for SnOasis.

Dublin-based investment group First Equity, which owns 70 per cent of the consortium behind the project, today confirmed its contribution to the development of the 364-acre site in Great Blakenham.

The firm will now begin talks with international partners regarding SnOasis, which is due to open in 2012 and will feature Europe's largest indoor ski slope, 350 ski lodges, and a four-star hotel.


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First Equity has been involved in the project since last year.

Full permission was granted for the last week and work is expected to start on the site early next year.

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Developers expect to create 3,500 jobs during the construction phase alone and nearly 2000 jobs when SnOasis is finished.

It is the biggest project to date for First Equity, which was founded in 1995 by Tom Dowling, a former tax inspector.

The firm owns a controlling stake in Onslow Suffolk Limited and has deals in Britain, France, Italy, Romania and the US worth more than £2.5 billion.

Bank funding for the site acquisition and planning process was provided by Allied Irish Bank (AIB).

Godfrey Spanner is managing director of developers Onslow Suffolk, which has spent seven years working on SnOasis.

Today he pledged that work would start next week: “On Tuesday 18th November 2008, leading members of our 28-strong team sit with me to programme the detail design schedule, prepare for works to relocate the Great Crested Newt population and to agree the way forward to getting our builders on to site in the quickest possible time.”

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