Snow dome bosses ask for more time

Managing Director of Acer Snowmec Malcolm Clulow
Managing Director of Acer Snowmec Malcolm Clulow
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DEVELOPERS behind a multi-million pound snow dome plan for Blackpool are asking the council for more time to investigate the viability of the ambitious scheme.

Wigan-based Greenbank Partnerships is poised to submit an interim document to the council outlining progress made so far on the proposals to transform the Central Station site.

The Dubai snowdome

The Dubai snowdome

But it wants another 12 months to finalise details of the scheme which would still include an indoor ski attraction – but on a smaller scale.

The rest of the 20-acre site would be developed for an entertainment complex, hotels and retail use, if the scheme went ahead.

Jonathan Smith, development director for Greenbank Partnerships, said: “We are fairly close to what we think is a sustainable scheme for the site and we will be formally submitting a progress report to the council.

“The business model has altered while we have been in liaison with US-based entertainment companies.

“We have a fairly close liaison with a lot of US brands looking to come to the UK.

“A snow centre is still an element but the area it would be has been reduced in size.

“We are trying to create a new urban entertainment complex which would be something entirely new to the UK market.”

Blackpool Council leader Coun Peter Callow confirmed the developers had asked for a time extension.

He said: “I understand they have quality American operators lined up. I can only think it is positive they have asked for an extension, otherwise they would have thrown their hands in.”

The council entered into an 18-month exclusivity agreement with Greenbank Partnerships and Malcolm Clulow, of Acer Snowmec Consultants, who holds the world patent for making artificial snow, in October 2009, which is due to come to an end next month.

At the time, the developers unveiled plans for an indoor alpine attraction able to cater for up to 4,000 people at any one time, and two thirds the height of the Tower.

Also earmarked for the development were other leisure facilities including a swimming pool, shops, apres ski bars, a hotel and possibly conference facilities.

The Central Station site was originally set aside for the supercasino. Council regeneration chiefs are currently updating the planning framework for the land to enable new planning applications to come forward.