Town’s 2013 bid to open longest ski dome in UK

A WINTER sports venue featuring the longest ski slope in the country could open in Weston by the start of 2013, says the company behind the proposed scheme.

Leisuredome UK hopes athletes set to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics will use the multi-million pound complex set for Weston Airfield.

They say families will also be welcomed to the 30,000sqm site, which will include shopping, freefall activities, a health spa, indoor climbing and a skate park.

And the scheme, which will sit on the Helicopter Museum side of the airport’s disused runway, would employ about 600 people of all levels of skill.

At a meeting of Hutton Parish Council on Monday, company operations developer Clive Hamilton-Davies said the all-year-round attraction could bring millions more visitors to Weston each year. He said the scheme would boast 12,000sqm of indoor ski slope including one 210-metre long stretch – the longest of six indoor ski slopes in the country.

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He said: “This would be the first of its kind in the South West and would attract customers from across the whole of the country.

“The Grand Pier has just been completed and I think this would be a second great addition to the town.

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“People coming to the site would not just spend money there, they would also look around the area. This would be a great boost for the town’s economy.”

The developers have admitted the 190ft high building would impose a mark on the landscape.

But they hope the use of colour-changing building materials will help disguise the structure’s height.

The development would form part of the regeneration of the Weston Airfield by Persimmon Homes and would be sited near a light industrial estate.

A feasibility study is being carried out into the impact the number of visitors would have on the town’s transport network, in particular M5 junction 21.

Leisuredome UK say it will launch a public consultation in March and hopes to submit a planning application to North Somerset Council by April.

In terms of retail, the firm says it already has strong interest from the likes of outdoor adventure chain Ski and Rock and Chinese restaurant chain Cosmo.

At the parish council meeting resident and councillors listened with interest and said they would comment at the upcoming consultation.

One resident, however, said: “This will be overlooking my back garden, but if it is something that is going to be of use to local community I think it can only be a good thing.”

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