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Wait goes on over future of abandoned Yeovil ski slope

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: October 06, 2012

PLANS ON ICE: The future of the Ski Centre in Yeovil will not be discussed until next year. In the meantime, the ski slopes are overgrown and council taxpayers are footing a £6,180 security bill

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The future of Yeovil’s abandoned ski centre will not be considered until the new year, the Western Gazette can reveal.

Five years after its sudden closure, the former Alpine Village remains an abandoned eyesore overlooking the town.

The site has been included for development in South Somerset District Council’s “urban village” regeneration vision for the town – but the project has been put on hold.

Built on the side of Summerhouse Hill, the artificial slopes and entertainment venue shut its doors in August 2007 when the lease company ran into financial difficulties.

The Addlewell Lane site has been attacked by vandals and arsonists on several occasions in recent years.

The slopes have now become overgrown with grass and the ski lift pylons uprooted from their base.

Meanwhile, taxpayers are still paying for security at the site with Yeovil Town Council budgeting £6,180 to spend on it this year.

In a report last year, a £32m transformation of the area – from the ski slope to the bandstand area of the town centre, including the building homes on Stars Lane car park – was unveiled.

But those plans, which proposed turning the ski lodge into a 60-bed hotel, were deemed financially unviable and have been put on hold.

Further feasibility studies are being conducted.

It is likely that the project, dubbed the Summerhouse Urban Village, will not be looked at until next year at the earliest.

Town and district councillor Tony Lock said: “There is no update since the district council put its plans for the urban village on hold earlier this year.

“It is the aim for it to be developed but there is no news at the moment.

“Personally I would like to see it dealt with as it is still costing us money.”

A South Somerset District Council spokesman confirmed that plans for the site and the urban village were still “a little bit down the line” in terms of development.

Efforts by the town council to sell the 2.26-hectare site failed and proposals by Yeovil Community Church for a creative arts centre on the site also fell through.

The £1.5m scheme would have included a professional dance and recording studio, a drama theatre and a media suite.

Indoor facilities would have included a youth cafe, games room, an internet cafe, shop, office space, music practice rooms and accommodation.

The slope would have been transformed into a mountain bike trail with an outdoor amphitheatre used for drama productions and music concerts.

Prior to the ski centre’s closure, licensing authorities had raised concerns regarding health and safety issues at the centre and underage drinking.

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