MIDDLESBROUGH Mayor, Andy Preston, has responded to comment from the Middlesbrough MP, Andy McDonald regarding the development of the Snow Centre.

Mr Preston said: "I think everyone knows that I am hugely ambitious for Middlesbrough so I would love the Snow Centre to become a reality.

"Middlesbrough Council has tried and continues to try so hard to make this happen. Over the last six years, the council has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in officers’ time, agreed land deals with the company behind the project and built a new bridge.

"I personally believe the Snow Centre would be amazing for the town and the area, and I have invested many hours of time into the project. I personally approached the Tees Valley Combined Authority to get them to partner with us and they subsequently loaned the company money.

"It’s dishonest and deliberately misleading of Andy McDonald to suggest I don’t support this scheme, just days after I publicly repeated my belief that it is a potential game-changer.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough MP backs Snow Centre: "I cannot comprehend why the Mayor will not support a project that will create 12,000 jobs"

“Our town’s MP knows almost nothing about this project or how to finance it and his comments show just how gullible he is.

"If any project was guaranteed to produce an annual income of £3m for a one-off investment of £20m, the council would obviously do a deal tomorrow. But that isn’t the case and to believe otherwise is grotesquely naïve. I repeat that both I and the council would absolutely love to make this happen and we will do anything reasonable to make it happen.

"What we absolutely cannot do is risk more than £20m of the public’s money without a realistic promise of a return on that investment. The issue comes down to two questions: Who will pay to have the Snow Centre built? And, if it doesn’t work out down the line, who will swallow the losses?

“So while I support the idea of the scheme, I’m also the one who is responsible for being sensible with the public’s money. We will continue to work with the company to see if there’s a way to make it happen. What I can’t do is use a load of public money to build a Snow Centre that might lose money and leaves the council having to pick up the bill down the line.”