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East Anglian ski slope in plans . llip

CONTRACTS - IPSWICH

A GIANT winter sports leisure centre planned for East Anglia is closer to reality after Network Rail backed plans for a nearby railway station ahead of a planning hearing this month.

The £350 million Snoasis skiing development is earmarked for a 42 ha former quarry in Great Blakenham, north of Ipswich.

The centrepiece will be an indoor ski slope. But the scheme is under pressure from local residents, who do not want such a big leisure development in the area.

One major consideration had been transport but the backing from Network Rail for a station at Great Blakenham means that particular hurdle has been negotiated. The next obstacle will be the planning hearing at Mid Suffolk District Council on April 20.

Sir Robert McAlpine had been battling with Mowlem for the contract but Mowlem is repor ted to have withdrawn after its acquisition by Carillion.

The construction contract will be worth between £250 million and £300 million.