True benefits of SnOasis unveiled

SNOASIS could be bringing in nearly £57 million a year to the Suffolk economy by 2009, the man behind the scheme said today.Godfrey Spanner was speaking after Mid Suffolk Council was given an upbeat assessment of the project's potential by consultants employed to go through the project's economic proposal with a fine toothcomb.

SNOASIS could be bringing in nearly £57 million a year to the Suffolk economy by 2009, the man behind the scheme said today.

Godfrey Spanner was speaking after Mid Suffolk Council was given an upbeat assessment of the project's potential by consultants employed to go through the project's economic proposal with a fine toothcomb.

Christopher Cobbald from DTZ Pieda Consulting said that the attraction could expect to attract more than 600,000 visitors a year - and turn in an annual profit of £23.2m.

The project includes a 500m long piste, ice rink, bowling alley, a nine hole golf course, 18 restaurants, a nightclub, an eight screen cinema, casino, conference centre, 350 self catering lodges, a four star 350 bed hotel, 430 new homes and a train station.

The report - revealed in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star - said the project had the potential to become a landmark tourist attraction for the east of England and would create around 1,400 full-time jobs for people in the region, with 1,170 of these in Suffolk.

But opposition groups urged caution and warned that despite the obvious benefits they were still concerned about the impact on the surrounding area.

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Mr Spanner was delighted that the report repeated what his group, Onslow Suffolk, had been saying since Snoasis was first proposed.

He said: “This backs up what we have said all along. Now people know that this is a viable project and we can look ahead with confidence.”

The proposal still has to be approved by Mid Suffolk planners - and could be subject to a call-in from the government's regional office.

But council chief executive Andrew Good said if it was clear that the council had taken great care in dealing with the application, there was a chance that the government would allow its decision to stand.

The council's planning committee could consider the full application as early as February.

Mr Spanner said: “If we get planning permission in February, I would hope to start work in April which is the right time of the year to avoid the newts that live there.

“Construction work will take two and a half years so it could be finished by the end of 2008 ready for the first full season in 2009.”

John Williams, chairman of the SnOasis parish group, which has concerns about the impact any development will have on the local area, urged caution.

He said: “Obviously we would like something to happen because it would be a great boost to the area but the key is making sure that it is sustainable and does not have an adverse effect on surrounding villages.

“We do not want it to affect existing services because those who live in these rural areas need to support themselves.”

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