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New plan in bid to save Wycombe snowdome
A PROPOSED multi-million pound ski centre may have moved a step closer after developers and a council came to an agreement over the decimated Wycombe Summit site.
Plans to build a new £10m real snow, indoor ski centre and ice rink on the site of the former Abbey Barn Road dry ski slope were turned down by Wycombe District Council last April.
WDC's planning committee gave provisional permission for the 110m long slope in December 2007 but councillors rejected amended plans to increase the width of the building to make way for conference and party rooms.
The original chalet building was destroyed by a massive fire in 2005, which started in the kitchen of the wooden structure.
But at an informal planning enquiry today, developers Snowdome UK, who appealed against the council's rejection, revealed it had submitted 'revised original proposals' without the conference rooms.
A Section 106 Agreement had also been signed off by the developers, WDC, Buckinghamshire County Council and the freehold owners of the land.
This paves the way for the scheme to be given the go ahead, subject to the decision from Planning Inspectorate Antony Davison and planning conditions.
Snowdome UK managing director Martin Smith said: “Indoor ski slopes are opening up all the time around the UK and it is just a matter as to whether we put one here in High Wycombe because it is a fantastic site and the demand for it is there.
“We had more than 300 responses to a week long consultation period during the original planning process and we had just two who did not support the scheme.
“We have been in negotiations with the council to address their concerns, we also now have the Section 106 Agreement in place and our ultimate goal is to get a ski centre back on the site.”
Chris Woodman from the High Wycombe Society was the only member in the 20-strong group to express concerns about the visual impact the development would have on the area, but he seemed satisfied with the developers' mitigation plans.
He added: “We are not against the development but we just want to make sure the correct mitigation measures are in place.
“We will accept the the democratic decision on a development that clearly has the public behind it and would prove to be a good facility for the area.”
A number of skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts were also at the hearing held at the council's Queen Victoria Road offices, including Melanie Codling who organised a Facebook campaign to see the centre built.
She told the hearing: “There may not be public transport links up to the site at the moment but I know for a fact people would be willing to walk there.
“And as for the concerns about how it would fit into the woodland, the current state of the site is an eyesore on the area – this is a great opportunity.”
The Planning Inspectorate's decision is expected in “about a month”.
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