Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 11:40 UK

Go-ahead for 350m SnOasis plan

How SnOasis could look
An artist's impression of how SnOasis could look

Plans to build one of the largest winter sports centres in Europe have been approved subject to certain terms and conditions.

Developer Onslow Suffolk wants to build the 350m complex at a former quarry in Great Blakenham near Ipswich, Suffolk.

Government planning inspectors want more information on the carbon footprint the SnOasis project is likely to leave on the area.

A final decision will be made by the Secretary of State by 17 September.

Onslow Suffolk wants to create an indoor ski slope, ice rink, hotels, as well as shops and apartments.

Climate change

The firm said a package of benefits costing 29m would be put in place covering a wide range of projects.

These included planting 130,000 trees, improvements to the Copdock intersection of the A12 and A14, skills and training initiatives, and a main line railway station linking to London Liverpool Street.

Some residents have voiced concern about the impact of the complex on the environment and increased traffic congestion.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust also registered an objection to the planning application saying there would be a "significant loss to biodiversity".

Chairman of the SnOasis Community Alliance, John Williams, said: "If there's justice in the world it will be stopped, if the government really means what it says about climate change it would not let this go ahead."

Godfrey Spanner, managing director of Onslow Suffolk, said: "We have been working on this project for six years, with costs running into many millions.

"At last, SnOasis will become a reality to the benefit of Ipswich, Suffolk, East Anglia, the country, and of course, all of our hopes for greater success at major winter sports competitions."

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid-Suffolk District Council, said: "This will give Suffolk the tourism boost that it truly deserves and our other local attractions should be able to capitalise on the interest that it will generate.

"With around 120 new affordable homes being built as part of the development, local people and small businesses look set to benefit too."

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