Ski slope will go ahead after ‘massive’ interest

A PLANNED extreme sports attraction for Weston has attracted so much market interest that the company behind it is ‘highly confident’ it will go ahead.

Leisuredome UK unveiled its proposal for a �50million indoor ski slope centre with a climbing wall, skateboard and BMX park, freefall centre and surf simulator at a public exhibition last week.

The scheme, which would bring in more than half a million visitors in its first year of opening, would also include sport shops, cafes and restaurants.

Following the collapse of several other high-profile leisure proposals for Weston - including three for the Tropicana - visitors to the exhibition viewed the plans with restrained optimism.

However, Leisuredome UK director Clive Hamilton-Davies told the Mercury he was positive the scheme would go ahead and operate successfully.

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Having worked on the idea for the past 10 years, he said he had secured ‘massive’ interest from market operators which, he said, would make the project viable.

There would be a large outdoor clothing store on the ground floor, fast food outlets on the second floor and a large buffet restaurant on the top floor.

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He said: “I understand what people think, but I’d like to come back at them and say confidently that this is going to happen if we get approval from the council.

“Usually investors for schemes demand you get 70 per cent of retail space signed up before they release cash, we’ve oversubscribed - businesses want to be here.

“The interest I’ve received, plus our guaranteed financial backing, means I’m highly confident this can go ahead for Weston.”

At the public exhibition, Mr Hamilton-Davies also explained to visitors that the dome, which would be up to 61m high, would bear a minimum impact on the surrounding area because it would be built in a 15m-deep basin.

It would also be coloured to blend in with the landscape.

Its location would be at the former RAF Locking site, where 1,500 homes are going to be built by the Government over the next 20 years.

Visitors to the exhibition, although unsure the scheme would go ahead, said they welcomed the idea and its benefit for the town.

Daniel Weir, aged 23, of Mendip Road said: “This would be massive for Weston, a real attraction which would put the town well and truly on the map.”

Paul Tripp, aged 43, of Locking Grove, said: “I’m a bit concerned over the height, but you cannot deny this would be a great thing for Weston.”

Leisuredome UK, which is supported by planning agents GVA Grimley, expect to put a planning application in by the summer.

The earliest predicted opening of the scheme would be in spring 2013.

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