A detailed planning application to build a ‘Center Parcs on Ice’ in an old quarry hangs in the balance as planning officers check if a valid application was made on time.
The developers of SnOasis had been granted planning permission for the holiday complex with a huge indoor ski run and other winter sports facilities at Column Field Quarry, Great Blakenham, in 2008, but to comply with that had to provide details for eight phases of the development.
On October 31, 2011 Onslow Suffolk were given a five year deadline extension for the detailed plan, which ran out on Monday – the day it delivered the detailed planning documents to Mid Suffolk Council.
Since then the council’s planning staff have been validating the documents and announced today (Friday) that it was a valid application.
A council spokesman said: “They expect to have all of the relevant documents available on our Planning [web] Pages around the middle of next week, under application number 4494/16.”
Because of the size of the application it is unlikely to go before the planning committee for a decision before the spring.
Onslow Suffolk bought the 350 acre site in 2001 and its then managing director Godfrey Spanner described the project as ‘Center Parcs on Ice’.
But, the project ran into a series of problems, not least the recession.
In 2007 it went to a planning appeal, which was told three protected species had been found in or near the site – bats, great-crested newts and grass snakes.
In 2008 the Secretary of State granted permission in principle for the development to include a 415m-long ski slope, golf course, ice rink, nightclub, 250-room hotel and 200-bed hostel.
Plans for 421 new homes next to the site and a railway station linking to Liverpool Street were given approval.
But the railway station was a condition of the permission and in March 2012 Mr Spanner said negotiations for that were delayed by changes to the East Anglian rail franchise.
He said they had an agreement with One Rail but they lost the franchise to the Dutch-owned Abellio Greater Anglia whose short-term franchise, which began that February, was then only for 29 months.
“We don’t know who we should be negotiating with,” he said.
But the following month Mr Spanner and company secretary Peter Frohlich stepped down following litigation which resulted in bankruptcy, though Mr Spanner said he would stay on as a consultant.