Work to start ‘or no £5.5m’

DEVELOPERS at the SnOasis housing site face a race against time to start work in order to receive a £5.5 million kickstart cash boost.

Work must begin at the site – which makes up part of the £350 million SnOasis development – before the end of March and before the start of a new financial year.

The former Masons Cement works site in Great Blakenham, which is set to be developed by Orbit Homes Ltd, has secured planning permission for more than 380 homes and also includes proposals for a local centre, police station, doctors surgery and employment buildings.

The plans were originally developed by Onslow Suffolk, the company behind the SnOasis winter sports complex, but the site has now been taken over by Orbit Homes.

The project was given the go-ahead in 2008 when the plans were approved by the Secretary of State after a lengthy and complex planning inquiry.

Peter Goodyear, the SnOasis planning officer at Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC), said that work on the site must begin before the end of this month to avoid losing more than £5 million of funding which was awarded as part of the Kickstart 2 scheme run by the Homes and Communities Agency.

But the developers must first have details surrounding the application approved by MSDC planning committee before work can begin.

The application details have been previously refused due to a lack of car parking, but Mr Goodyear said the amended application included an increase in the number of car parking spaces.

The new application will go to committee on Wednesday for final approval.

When completed, the housing development will consist of 386 homes, which will be a mixture of affordable housing, shared ownership and private sale.

This site will make up part of the larger development which is set to include a 415m indoor ski slope, a winter sports academy, four-star hotel and SnOasis village with shops, bars, restaurants and a nightclub.

SnOasis developer, Onslow Suffolk, has said that the complex will boost tourism in the area and could help to produce future Olympic champions.