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SKI SLOPE AT RISK - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Monday June 12, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

One of the UK's oldest dry ski slopes is under threat with plans for housing on the site. Time is running out to save the slope in Essex as local skiers protest.

The landlords of Brentwood Leisure Park have submitted a planning application to build 13 new homes.

If it's approved and the development goes ahead, the ski and snowboard centre will be demolished along with a golf driving range, an outdoor go-karting track and a restaurant.

The plans have infuriated skiers and snowboarders who use the centre.

It is the only ski slope in Essex.

Brentwood Park Ski & Snowboard CentreAs it is (photo: Brentwood Park Ski & Snowboard Centre)
















Plans for housing at Brentwood ParkAs it could be - the plans



















A Facebook campaign #SaveBrentwood has been launched.

Worried skiers and snowboarders have been registering their disapproval with the council, which has an online comments page.

#SaveBrentwood campaign#SaveBrentwood



















The Brentwood dry slope was first built in 1974.

It is on land considered part of the Metropolitan Green Belt, is in 54 acres of woodland and has slopes for all abilities.

It is popular with children and families.

Brentwood Park Ski & Snowboard CentrePhoto: Brentwood Park Ski & Snowboard Centre















It's also home to the Essex Ski Racing Club whose chairman, Tim Bingham, told PlanetSKI its loss would be a huge blow to racing, local schools and youth groups in south east England.

"There are limited outdoor ski slope facilities in the UK and we need to ensure that these are kept for the future of snowsports and the wider community," he said.

"If the application is successful then not only will Brentwood lose vital outdoor leisure activities but it will lead to significant job losses."

It would be the second dry slope in south east England in just over a year to fall victim to the demand for more homes.

In March 2016 Bromley Ski and Snowboard Centre in Orpington closed after the owners decided to sell it to make way for a residential housing development.

Some of the skiers and snowboarders from Bromley relocated to Brentwood.

The Brentwood Park Ski and Snowboard Centre is urging people to fight the demolition plans, saying on its Facebook page:  We need your help and support in telling the Council why THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!!

Brentwood Park Ski & Snowboard CentrePhoto: Brentwood Park Ski & Snowboard Centre
















If you feel strongly about the possible loss of Brentwood's slope, you have until Friday to comment here.

Here's what some supporters of the ski slope have had to say to the council:

Amanda Jenkins: This is where the disability ski team train. My son has autism and in his own words he says 'skiing is my life'. To take away this facility and build 13 houses is a travesty. People with disabilities have faced so much hardship already we have to fight for everything and something that is so positive in their lives should not be taken away to house people on a green belt area.

Jo Hughes: The ski slope provides a great leisure facility for all ages to go tubing, skiing and snowboarding. Thousands of locals have learnt to ski here, practice and improve their skills. In a country that embraces Olympic success I am shocked that the planning officer is minded to allow the destruction of the ski slope. Past and present national squad skiers train at this slope. Observing the high standard of many of the current Essex Ski Race Club juniors, there is probably the next generation of National squad athletes currently training there. This is a vital asset and provides all with a facility for athletes to train at a cost affordable to the vast majority.

Lisa Westmacott: I strongly object to this proposal and am surprised it is even being considered. My whole family learnt to ski here and even after moving away I still visit when I am back in the area. It is a fantastic place for a family day out, and a family run business, both of which are very important parts of the local community.

Nicholas Davey: It would be an absolute tragedy if Brentwood ski slope were to be lost. I am 22 and dry slope skiing (including at Brentwood) was the highlight of my youth for 10 years, being what I looked forward to every week. It provided fun, stress release, exercise and an opportunity to make friends. It goes without saying that all these things are essential for a healthy upbringing, and a healthy life.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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