The proposal to build an indoor ski slope in the chalk quarry at Great Blakenharn is on course for an early start - subject to Regional Planning decisions. The development is both exciting and massive (£3OO million) and will have serious economic impact on Ipswich and particularly its north-western suburbs. When up and running, Snoasis will require 3,000 employees. Even during construction it is likely 1,500 builders will be required.
Described as "Centre Parks on Ice" the complex will include skiing, ice skating, ice climbing (hands up if you've tried that sport!), bowling, tennis and other racquet sports. On site guest accommodation includes a 4-star hotel, 350 chalets, a 200-bed hostel for school parties and youth groups (much safer to learn to ski here rather than on a real mountain) and new homes.
Set deep in the quarry, most of the development will not be visible but the ski slope building will rise at a shallow angle enclosing a piste half a kilometre in length. It is predicted that when fully operational it will bring 2.5 million visitors* and half a billion pounds into the local economy (oh - and a little traffic).
* 2.5 m per year; 200,000 a month; 50,000 a week; 10.000+ on Friday afternoons.