Town to cash in on ski slope
PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 June 2011
MILLIONS of pounds will be made by hotels and bed and breakfasts in Weston each year if a planned ski slope opens on the edge of town, new figures suggest.
Leisuredome UK says it will attract half-a-million people a year to its proposed £50million extreme sports attraction at the former RAF barracks site, Locking Parklands.
Of those visiting, the company bosses predict 129,600 will come from more than two hours’ drive away, with many looking to stay overnight in the town.
The theory has been backed up by letters of support for the planning application, sent from people as far away as Cumbria and Northern Ireland.
More than 100 of the 119 letters sent in response to the proposed scheme so far are from addresses outside the Weston area.
But the statistics, although offering a potential boost for the town’s tourism industry, have provided plenty of thought for the district’s transport officers.
North Somerset Council chief transport officer, Mike Schneider, said the site opening would lead to a significant increase in traffic on the outskirts of Weston.
In response, he said Somerset Avenue approaching the airport roundabout should be widened from two lanes to three and the attraction not be allowed to open before 10am.
Leisuredome UK claims the attraction would feature a 210m ski slope, indoor climbing centre, a health club, children’s activity centre and BMX park.
There would also be a range of sports shops and cafes to complement the activity zones.
A new road would be laid down from the A371 to the 15-acre site, which would have more than 500 parking spaces.
Bosses at the Bristol-based business hope to open the scheme by spring 2013.
Aside from the support, concern has been expressed from nearby residents and parish councils about the height of the building and the resulting increase in traffic.
North Somerset Council expects to make a decision on the planning application by the end of August.