Still doubts over Snoasis

EXTREME scepticism still greets a multi-million pound project that would transform Great Blakenham in to a national attraction.Even those who wanted to see Snoasis get the go-ahead are concerned about the repercussions it would have on the small peaceful village.

EXTREME scepticism still greets a multi-million pound project that would transform Great Blakenham in to a national attraction.

Even those who wanted to see Snoasis get the go-ahead are concerned about the repercussions it would have on the small peaceful village.

Among the issues raised at the public meeting was the extra traffic that would be generated by the heavy trucks carrying the construction materials.

And when the project is up and running they feared heavy congestion from the thousands of visitors and supply trucks.

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Many residents were concerned that the high tower for the top of the slope would be a blot on the landscape.

They also challenged Godfrey Spanner over school, medical and waste disposal provision for the 500 planned new houses.

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Damage to wildlife was another concern as ponds, woodland and farmland would be lost.

Lord Michael Blakenham, whose family have long-established ties with the area as farmers and residents, told residents: "There are lakes and ponds on 300 acres within the application site, There are 15 ponds of a considerable size which are largely used by birds and a fishing club.

"There are dragon flies, and a sand martin colony in the area. The entire development is taking place in the Suffolk countryside. This is a development slap bang in the middle of it."

Alan Stovell, Great Blakenham parish councillor who deals with planning issues, told the meeting: "A lot of the land has been reclaimed for farming, is pasture land. A lot of people believe it is simply a hole in the ground."

Mid Suffolk District Council leader Roger Saunders told the meeting there is everything to play for.

He said: "There is an illusion it is already a done deal and Mid Suffolk agree with Mr Spanner come what may.

"I need to dispel that immediately. We have an open mind, have to listen to the evidence and then make a decision."

The hundreds of people who turned out at the village hall in Great Blakenham held very strong views about the huge ski slope, as expected.

Opinion was divided, but even those in favour to the snow dome complex had reservations about aspects of the plan.

Scott Ralph, of Stowmarket Road, Great Blakenham, was in favour of scheme but had fears about the amount of cars and lorries that would pass through the village.

He said: "The increase in traffic is my main concern. We need something to enhance the place but I am very sceptical about the plans.

"It would be good for future generations but the houses will spoil my view much more than the slope."

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, was also for the development but shared these concerns.

He said: "I am one of those in favour but like others I have reservations about it like road access to it and the extra traffic generated.

"I can't decide if the adverse effects outweigh the fact that I would use it if it was here – not for skiing but for all the other things like the restaurants.

"It is a lot to do in our small village but I think the developers are being quite fair for offering discounts to residents."

Pamela Robinson, 59, of Edinburgh Gardens, Bramford, was also divided in her opinion.

She said: "My worry is the roads and all the traffic. I think it could be good for the village in terms of jobs and businesses coming in.

"I think the main problem is they do not know what the village traffic is already like.

"But I am moving to Great Blakenham soon and the proposals won't stop me."

It appeared that the majority of the villagers were against the idea though.

Some cited extra pollution from car fumes and damage to the existing wildlife areas as enough to quash the big idea.

Keith Lewis, 49, of Chequers Rise, said: "I am against the idea due to the traffic, nightclubs and more houses.

"It will spoil the village and give it no benefits at all – only traffic problems and more trouble."

Esme Millen, 69, from Bramford, said: "It's far too big a project for this area. It will ruin the landscape and everything.

Another resident added: "It's completely out of sync with the village. Why can't they have it at Bourne Hill where the dry slope is?

"We don't want casinos, they should be kept in London. They will bring in all the undesirables. I think we should have a protest meeting about it."

Doris Waspe, 78, of Chapel Lane, has lived in the village all her life. She said: "Where all the extra traffic will go I just do not know.

"It will change the character of the village and all the people moving in from London for the peace will not like it."

John Sampson, 61, summed up the mood as everyone left. He said: "I don't know if they have sold all the issues. There is a lot of deep-seated reservation about traffic congestion, parking and the effect on wildlife.

"I don't know if they have done much to resolve the villagers fears."

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