A new home for UK winter sports?
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Plans to create the world’s largest indoor champion ski slope and a permanent home for the UK’s winter Olympic skiing team have been delivered to local councillors in Suffolk.

SnOasis, developer Godfrey Spanner’s £300m project, would act as both as a tourism attraction and as the home to a National Winter Sports Academy.

Located on the site of a former cement quarry in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, SnOasis would be able to accommodate up to 2,000 skiers an hour with facilities for 13 other winter sports, ranging from ice hockey and speed skating to bobsleigh and cross-country skiing.

The scheme has so far secured the backing of the British Olympic Association (BOA), the British Ski Academy and the Ski Club of Great Britain and is expected to attract around 2.5 million visitors a year.

Planned skiing facilities would include a 100m high and 500m long piste, a 100m long nursery slope and a children’s play area.

Other sport facilities would be centred at a Sports Academy within the SnOasis resort and would include an ice pad with a seating capacity of 1,500; tennis, squash and badminton courts; five-a-side football pitches and roller hockey facilities.

Accommodation will be available at a 350-room, four-star hotel and in 350 self-catering chalets.

Conference facilities would be situated within a 1,000-capacity centre within the hotel. The academy’s ice pad would also be able to be transformed into 3,500sq m of exhibition space or into a conference centre for 1,000 delegates.

Simon Clegg, chief executive, BOA, said: “This resort will offer a unique opportunity for all year round winter sport activity.

“I am sure the winter sports community will see it as an opportunity to develop the next generation Olympians in a range of disciplines and, at the same time, raise the profile of and interest in winter sport.”

According to Onslow Suffolk Investments, the company behind SnOasis, the site would become a year-round holiday village-style family leisure resort with around 12 restaurants, bars, a nightclub, a multiplex cinema and a casino.

The planning application, submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council, was accompanied by a separate application for a £5m train station and a 120-space car park adjacent to the resort.

The council is now expected to return a decision on the plans by October 2004. Details: www.snoasis.co.uk

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Plans to create the world’s largest indoor champion ski slope and a permanent home for the UK’s winter Olympic skiing team have been delivered to local councillors in Suffolk.
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