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£270m leisure development gets green light

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An artist's impression of the new North Star developmentAn artist's impression of the new North Star developmentA £270m leisure development in Swindon which includes two ski slopes and Europe's largest IMAX cinema has been given the green light.

Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee yesterday (Tuesday) approved the North Star regeneration project after developer SevenCapital secured a deal with a major funder.

Informally known as 'Snoasis' in a nod to the nearby Oasis leisure centre, the complex will create hundreds of jobs and attract an estimated attract annual footfall of 3.3 million.

Half of the site, which will include 75m and 170m ski slopes, a 13-screen cinema, and a 19-lane bowling alley, 27,000 sq ft of trampolining, and restaurants, cafes and shops has already been pre-let.

Confirmed operators for the North Star Village include The Snow Centre, Empire Cinemas, Hollywood Bowl and mountain sports retailer Ellis Brigham.

Work is expected to begin on site by next spring, with the developers saying the complex could open to the public in 2021.

John Watkins, director at SevenCapital, said: “We’re thrilled with the decision to grant full planning approval for the North Star Village.

"Since taking on the project in July 2017, the team has worked tirelessly to deliver on our promises to submit plans for an exciting regional leisure and retail destination that Swindon and the wider UK will significantly benefit from.

“We have delivered on all our planning promises and are now looking forward to getting on site and bringing those plans to life.”

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for the Town Centre, said: “This ski facility has been a vision for Swindon for over six years, but we've now passed the final gate and are closing in on the finish line.

"There has been a tremendous amount of work going on behind the scenes and we are now in a strong position to move forward.

“Last week, SevenCapital announced it had secured the money needed to build the North Star leisure complex and the Planning Committee was the final hurdle.

“This development will put Swindon firmly on the map of top leisure destinations and is a shining example of the ambition we have to make the town a great place to live, work and play.”