Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Four-year battle to win approval

by Grant Sherlock
BBC News Interactive, Norwich

Quarry at Great Blakenham
The quarry would be transformed into a winter sports venue

The government's approval of a 350m indoor ski resort for Suffolk follows a lengthy battle by the developers.

The SnOasis project first went before planners in July 2004, when Onslow Suffolk submitted a scheme to Mid Suffolk District Council.

In 2006, the council's planning referrals committee voted to allow SnOasis, a 421-home housing complex and a new railway station to go ahead.

That decision was later "called in" by the government for a public inquiry.

After studying each of the applications and hearing the arguments in favour and against, the planning inspector, John Gray, recommended the government approve the schemes.

Renewable energy

In May this year the government said it was "minded to approve" SnOasis and gave the go-ahead to the housing development and the railway station on nearby sites in Great Blakenham, Suffolk.

But it asked Onslow Suffolk to fine tune its environmental mitigation measures and to find new ways of sourcing the energy needed to run the 350-acre (142 hectares) development from renewable sources.

A deadline for the final decision was set for September, but that was subsequently delayed until now.

Natural England maintained its opposition to the development throughout. It said there were insufficient measures to protect great crested newts on the site.

After the request from the government, Onslow resubmitted its proposals on energy use.

It now claims to be able to source 75% of the development's energy needs from renewable sources.

They include a large-scale woodchip burner and an "energy from waste" incinerator which could be built on a neighbouring site.

SnOasis
It is estimated it will create 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs
The resort will cover 350 acres
It is expected to take three years to build

During construction it is estimated the project will create 3,500 jobs. And when complete, it is estimated SnOasis would have 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs.

The resort will take three years to build. Onslow Suffolk estimates that during construction four million tonnes of earth will be moved on site.

The SnOasis complex will also see a host of accommodation and entertainment facilities constructed.

Among them will be 350 log cabins and a 350-bed four-star hotel and conference centre. The conference centre will be capable of seating 1,000 delegates.

As well as attracting amateur skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts, SnOasis will also play host to professional sportspeople in a sports academy.

They can be accommodated in a 200-bed athletes' village.

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SEE ALSO
Go-ahead for 350m skiing centre
06 Nov 08 |  Suffolk

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