Councillors at Exeter City Council were told they should be ashamed of themselves after their executive ignored their own committee’s advice and voted to bulldoze one of the UK’s longest-established dry ski slopes in a bid to maximise the cash from selling the land it’s on for more housing.
The volunteer-run Exeter Ski Club, which celebrated 50 years in existence last year, operates one of Britain’s leading dry ski centres and estimated it has taught more than 100,000 people to ski or board over the decades. It has a particularly strong ethos of support for local disabled people and children.
Because of the strong community value of the slope, the council’s own scrutiny committee had previously recommended that it be excluded from a wider sale of community-owned land of which it is part to housing developers, but councillors decided that including bit would make the most money.
The organiser of the disabled ski club shouted out, “you should be ashamed of yourself for what it means for the disabled people of Exeter” when the decision was made.
Almost all of the UK’s top snowsports stars learned to ski or snowboard on dry slopes. They include slalom skier Dave Ryding who is currently in the world top 10 and has won more medals than any other British skier; freestyle star James Woods who won World Championship gold in Utah last week and ski jumping legend, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards.
An online petition launched to save the slope at the start of the month has now had more than 3,500 signatures.
The decision is not yet final, the full council will make a final decision on February 26th. However all but one of the councillors voted to recommend to full council to include the ski slope in the land that will be sold.