a £350m winter sports leisure resort outside Ipswich in Suffolk will go ahead, according to the developer, despite the fact that planning approval has been put back six months.
Developer Onslow Suffolk, which has spent about £20m on the Snoasis scheme, working with cost consultant Franklin + Andrews, was first told that its application would be considered by the council in November. It was deferred until January, then put back to the end of next month, and now Onslow has been told it will not be dealt with until later.
Godfrey Spanner, managing director of Onslow Suffolk, said that the delay had partly been caused by changes in personnel at the planning office, but he also said that the sheer size of the scheme contributed to the delay.
The authority identified the former quarry as a site for a tourist resort more than four years ago. It is the fourth biggest project under way in England, and has secured the backing of the East of England Development Agency.
Despite the delays, which mean that the scheme is more likely to open in 2008 rather than 2007, Spanner remained enthusiastic. “Public support has been amazing,” he said. “We expect about 750-800,000 visitors a year.”
The British ski team has pledged to make Snoasis its headquarters, and it would be used as a training centre for the Winter Olympics.
The scheme, on a 142 ha site in Great Blakenham, will include an indoor ski slope, a 350-bedroom hotel, 350 self-catering chalets, a nine-hole golf course, watersports facilities, bars and restaurants.
Onslow has also submitted a separate planning application for 536 houses surrounding the main complex.
If planning permission is granted, Persimmon has agreed to take up an option to buy the land and develop the housing element.
As part of the deal, Onslow must pay for a school, a police station, and fund two policemen and one police car for three years.