Alex Ross, Reporter
Friday, July 22, 2011
WORK on a £50million extreme sports attraction planned for Weston is only months away from starting after the proposal won the full support of district planning watchdogs.
Leisuredome UK’s planning application for the ski-slope centre received the unanimous backing from members of North Somerset Council’s south area committee last night (Thurs).
The company, which has expressed delight at the support, says it will start work on the attraction in December, with opening expected in early 2013.
It will feature a 210metre ski slope, the longest in the country, a 40metre high climbing wall, indoor surfing centre and sky-diving simulator.
The centre, which will be built at the former RAF Locking site, will also include a children’s centre, BMX park, gym and shops and restaurants.
Leisuredome UK director, Clive Hamilton-Davies, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that planning approval has been granted by the council.
“This decision is a major economic and leisure boost for the West Country and for the town of Weston.
“It will deliver employment-led regeneration in an area where there is long term unemployment and provide a direct investment of £50m to the town.”
The company claim the centre will bring in 550,000 visitors and add to the £369million generated by tourism in the town.
He added: “Our development will build on Weston’s growing reputation as a leisure destination and the success of the Grand Pier which reopened last year.”
At the meeting of the council’s south area committee, councillors spoke in support of the planning application.
This was despite concerns over the centre’s height, which, at 60metres, will make it the tallest building in North Somerset.
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said: “Yes, it maybe visible from the M5, but providing the panelling of it is appropriate, I think this will be a good thing.
“It will encourage interest from the road and attract more visitors to the town.
Cllr Mike Bell said: “I think this is frankly a fantastic development and yet another sign of exciting things happening in Weston.
“I think back to when Puxton Park first opened and we are followed that with the Grand Pier and now we are talking about this, the Leisuredome.
“These are exciting times for everyone in the town.”
The proposal now just has one more hurdle to get over before work on the site commence.
It will now be considered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government before final approval is granted.
This is normal for all major planning applications.