More than 20 years after it was first proposed, the death knell has been sounded for any thoughts of a ski resort near Ipswich.

The first proposal to build SnOasis at Great Blakenham emerged in 2001 when businessman Godfrey Spanner revealed his plans for a huge snowdome and other holiday facilities.

After many twists and turns the proposed development, ultimately called Valley Ridge, was formally abandoned last year after Suffolk County Council granted a 10-year extension to the neighbouring Mason's landfill site.

East Anglian Daily Times: Godfrey Spanner at the Snoasis site in 2008.Godfrey Spanner at the Snoasis site in 2008. (Image: Newsquest)

When Mr Spanner first announced his plans, the project was welcomed by business leaders – and especially the tourist industry.

He had discussions with British Olympic Association bosses about skiers using the dome for their training.

But there was opposition from local people worried about disruption during its construction and traffic congestion in the years ahead.

East Anglian Daily Times: There were fears Snoasis would damage wildlife habitats.There were fears Snoasis would damage wildlife habitats. (Image: Snoasis/Newsquest)

Wildlife campaigners were also worried because the former quarry that it would have been built in had become home to many rare species.

Mid Suffolk District Council gave outline permission for the scheme, which also included new homes and a new railway station on the main line between Ipswich and Norwich.

But because of the scale of the proposed development, the government decided it should consider the plans.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Snoasis inquiry at Ipswich Corn Exchange.The Snoasis inquiry at Ipswich Corn Exchange. (Image: Newsquest)

A public inquiry was held Ipswich's Corn Exchange - and it was eventually given the go-ahead in 2008 with Mr Spanner saying he was ready to start with the project.

However, he had encountered financial challenges while promoting SnOasis and there was growing scepticism about whether it would ever be built.

Back in 2013 local residents expressed disbelief that anything would ever be built there, but Mr Spanner remained defiant.

He said at the time:  “They have been saying this for 10 years. As far as I am concerned, I could not give a stuff what they say. I have been working my heart out for 12 years to get it off the ground.

“The train station is the most important element. We know that is achievable and once work starts the building programme is 30 months.

“It is ridiculous to say nothing has happened. We have built lots of homes already in Blakenham and are now in the second phase of that.”

He was declared bankrupt in 2012, but remained as manager of the SnOasis project.

Some of the homes were built - but the railway station never materialised.

Despite Mr Spanner's regular claims that work was about to start, there was no sign of SnOasis getting underway and in 2020 a revised proposal with new backers emerged - SnOasis became Valley Ridge.

East Anglian Daily Times: Valley Ridge was seen as a more realistic proposal than Snoasis when it was unveiled in 2020 - but could not overcome the concerns about the neighbouring rubbish tip.Valley Ridge was seen as a more realistic proposal than Snoasis when it was unveiled in 2020 - but could not overcome the concerns about the neighbouring rubbish tip. (Image: Valley Ridge)

This retained some of the SnOasis proposals and was taken seriously by the business community and local authorities.

Full planning permission was confirmed in 2020.

However it became concerned about the proposals when the operator of the neighbouring landfill site Viridor - now Valencia - applied to Suffolk County Council for an extension to operate it for another 10 years.

Valley Ridge made it clear that it would not be able to operate a viable holiday park next to a huge waste tip with all the sounds, smells and seagulls that brought - and made it clear it would have to walk away if the extension was granted.

The county council's planning committee approved the extension in October 2022 and Valley Ridge took time to consider its next move.

It has now emerged that during 2023 the Valley Ridge proposal was formally abandoned and the land is now up for sale.

The planning permission granted in 2020 still applies - but it is thought unlikely that anyone would try to build a holiday resort so close to a waste tip.