Coronavirus: Great Blakenham's SnOasis approved by council

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Artist's impression of SnOasisImage source, SnOasis
Image caption,
The £500m snow sports centre is planned for a former quarry

Proposals for a £500m winter sports complex have been finalised using emergency powers to allow councils to continue working during the pandemic.

SnOasis, set in a quarry in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, got outline approval from the government in 2008.

Mid Suffolk Council's chief planning officer used emergency delegated powers to give it the final go-ahead in the absence of regular committee meetings.

A spokesman for SnOasis said they were "very pleased".

He added there was "plenty to do" before construction could start but they were "delighted" to "have the support of many local residents and the council".

Image source, SNOasis
Image caption,
Plans for the complex were first put before councillors in 2004

SnOasis has been in the pipeline for 16 years. Plans include winter sport facilities, a ski slope, ice rink and bobsleigh run.

Developers said the 350-acre site would also accommodate an entertainment centre - with scope for further facilities such as retail units, a hotel, hostel and chalets.

It is expected to create more than 5,000 jobs in the area.

Image source, SnOasis
Image caption,
The planned development will include a ski slope

Councillors voted by 11 to three in support of the plans in March 2019 after developers gave assurances detailed conditions would be met.

These include operating to a highly efficient standard, substantial upgrade works to Stowmarket railway station and a number of environmental and ecological controls to mitigate the impact of the development.

David Burn, the council's cabinet member for planning, said the scheme would provide a "boost" for the area.

He added the councillors' approval was a "public scrutinised decision at the time" and all the chief planning officer had done was "complete the request that was made by the committee".

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