Funding scheme could save £50m ski complex

PUBLISHED: 09:32 17 June 2014

An artist's impression of the new Leisuredome.

An artist's impression of the new Leisuredome.

Archant

A PROPOSED £50million indoor ski centre – presumed dead and buried by some – could benefit from funding to breath new life into the project, with help from the council.

The Leisuredome has struggled for years to attract investment but an innovative scheme promoted by North Somerset Council may help secure extra funding, although the authority denied claims it has agreed to provide large amounts of public money to the project.

American diner TGI Friday’s has signed up to the Locking Parklands site too and the developer says 70 per cent of its leisure and retail units have been secured.

In recent weeks, Leisuredome bosses have advertised the project on the Government’s international business website in a bid to attract new partners.

The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) site claims the council is ‘looking into offering a significant proportion of the required finance’.

However a council spokesman said taxpayers’ money had not been committed to the project, instead promising the authority is working with the developer to give the leisure attraction every chance of being a success.

He added: “As part of the council’s role in economic development we have been promoting potential private sector investment in the project, including providing information to internationally recognised websites such as the UKTI website.

“To date, the council has not made any commitment to directly fund the project.

“But the council could, in the event of a viable business case with an appropriate return to it, support such a project through business rate growth across the West of England.”

Four South West councils agreed with the Government last year that money collected from business rates could be kept by the councils, if it was reinvested into the economy and created jobs, and North Somerset may use this to help the Leisuredome.

Planning permission, subject to conditions, for the UK’s largest indoor ski slope and an indoor climbing wall, was granted almost three years ago but building work has never got close to starting due to a lack of finance.

Despite progress behind the scenes, no target start date has been given by the Leisuredome developers.

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