Warning over "alien intrusion"

SNOASIS would be an “alien intrusion” on the landscape and if it failed it would be a disaster for the area, a planning expert warned today.Dr Wendy Le-Las, who is the star witness for the project's main opponents SnOasis Community Alliance, today took to the stand at the resumed SnOasis public inquiry at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

SNOASIS would be an “alien intrusion” on the landscape and if it failed it would be a disaster for the area, a planning expert warned today.

Dr Wendy Le-Las, who is the star witness for the project's main opponents SnOasis Community Alliance, today took to the stand at the resumed SnOasis public inquiry at Ipswich Corn Exchange.

She told planning inspector John Gray: “SnOasis ski slope would offer nothing that is not available elsewhere, in urban areas with good communications.”

On the third last day of the inquiry into whether the £300million indoor ski slope and associated leisure complex, an adjacent 421-home housing development and a new railway station for Great Blakenham should be built, Dr Le-Las presented a brief of evidence to the inspector.


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In it she said: “I agree with the other witness for SnOasis Community Alliance (who) consider it would be an alien intrusion into the landscape.”

She said the giant ski slope and the hotel, chalets, cinema, nightclub, restaurants and other facilities proposed for the former Mason's quarry site at Great Blakenham would have a detrimental impact on the environment and, if it failed, could cause long-term problems for the area.

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She said: “In reality three years or more of construction would probably eliminate most of the endangered species on the site. Assuming they survive, how can 20 hectares on an exposed, immature site compensate for 50 hectares on the existing well-established site?

“The possible financial failure of SnOasis, in its current form, should be seriously considered because it would have implications not only for the future use of the site but also for the surrounding area.”

Dr Le-Las also questioned whether developers Onslow Suffolk may have undisclosed plans to increase the amount of shopping space on the site.

She said: “Perhaps this is the real reason why such a large site has been acquired for a proposed development the core of which is, at most, only a third of its size?”

SnOasis Community Alliance, which is made up of a coalition of parish councils, lobby group sNOasis Concern and the Suffolk Preservation Society, brought in Dr Le-Las to head its attempt to convince Mr Gray to recommend the government refuses permission for SnOasis to be built.

She is the last witness in the case against the developments.

Tomorrow and on Friday the parties will sum up their cases before Mr Gray retires to prepare his recommendations.

Earlier in the inquiry developers Onslow Suffolk said SnOasis would lead to a huge injection of new jobs, would attract 600,000 visitors to the area each year and would effectively put the area on the map.

It is thought the government will rule on the case by the end of the year.

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