A MULTI-million pound project to bring snow sports to the area has moved a step closer after full planning permission was approved.

The £30m Subzero Snow Centre, which is expected to be up and running by 2022, will be built at Middlehaven Dock, on a seven-acre brownfield site next to the Grade II listed clock tower.

The centre, the only one of its kind in the region, will give snow-junkies the chance to sharpen their skiing and snowboarding skills while also offering the chance to learn the sport on the nursery slope or try out a sledge run.

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Middlesbrough Council’s planning department officers used delegated powers, imposed during the Coronavirus outbreak, to approve the ambitious scheme.

A spokesperson for Subzero said: “This is a ray of light in difficult times. Now we can make progress behind the scenes so we don’t lose valuable time.

“We are pressing ahead and we hope that the agreement of planning permission shows the high level of commitment we have towards this project - more than £750,000 has already been spent getting it to this stage.

“The necessary land deals, financial backers, prospective operators and partners are on board and it would be great to see the public get behind us too in these tough times.

“The design of the building, which has now been approved, looks amazing and fits well into the historic site It will add to the list of ambitious and innovative schemes in the pipeline for Middlesbrough.

“Subzero will make a huge contribution to the economy of the Tees Valley bringing jobs and shining a positive light on the region.”

The project. which is being supported by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, will also include shops, restaurants and cafés.

Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The new snow centre will be massive for Middlesbrough, helping the regeneration of Middlehaven and creating jobs while giving even more people an excuse to visit, have fun and spend money in the town.”

And Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston added: “This is a key a milestone in a project that has huge potential for one of the most important regeneration sites in the whole region.

“Life will return to normal in the coming months, and we’ll need to throw our weight behind developments like this that will help Middlehaven fulfil its true potential.”

Darlington-based Prism Planning helped with its preparation and submission.

Planning director Rod Hepplewhite said: “The snow and leisure centre development will prove to be a major asset not only for Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley but also for the wider North East and North Yorkshire.”