Indoor ski centre will ‘go ahead’
- Credit: Archant
THE Leisuredome developer is ‘100 per cent confident’ it will go ahead – although admits he has no idea when building work will ever begin.
Planning permission was granted for the £50million indoor winter sports complex at Locking Parklands three-and-a-half years ago but construction work has never started.
Clive Hamilton-Davies, a director of OpalTec International, predicted a year ago this week that building work would start in early 2014 - if the project went smoothly.
But with the company still struggling to attract funding for the multi-million pound tourist attraction, doubts have been raised that it will ever happen. Weston MP John Penrose is among those who called for the firm to start building or admit defeat.
Mr Hamilton-Davies said: “It will go ahead but you have to understand funding is difficult in this market. We have got a lot of money invested in it. The project means the world to us.”
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Planning permission for a 210-metre indoor ski slope, gym, indoor climbing wall and other activities was granted in September 2011 – with a projected opening day of early 2013.
Butcombe Brewery, Subway and Ellis Brigham were among a handful of retailers who signed up to the project too.
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Despite not being able to put a time estimate on when building work would begin, Mr Hamilton-Davies added: “Everyone is still onboard. It’s a fantastic opportunity for retail. Everyone wants this to happen.”
Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, who represents Locking on North Somerset Council, said the scheme ‘had gone quiet’ of late.
He said: “St Modwen, who has Locking Parklands, is still optimistic it will go ahead. Perhaps now we appear to be coming out of a recession more funding is possible.
“I think from the village’s perspective, and from my economic development perspective, we really want to see employment created at Locking Parklands.
“Whether that’s the Leisuredome or other forms of employment we aren’t necessarily precious about but the Leisuredome has significant potential in tourism terms too.
“What we don’t want to happen is for it to fall by the wayside and have an abundance of housing.”