Future of skating rink is on thin ice

Dan and Vycki Nicholson in their new Ice Rink in the former TVR site in Bispham
Dan and Vycki Nicholson in their new Ice Rink in the former TVR site in Bispham
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Councillors are being recommended to throw out plans for a new ice rink – even though it has already been built.

As previously reported in The Gazette, Dan Nicholson and his wife Vycki have opened the Fylde Coast Ice Arena on part of the former TVR factory site in Bristol Avenue, Bispham, despite not have planning permission.

Their original application for the scheme was approved in February 2013 but subsequently quashed following a legal challenge by the Property Alliance Group (PAG), owners of the Sub Zero ice rink in Cleveleys.

The scheme is due back before Blackpool Council’s planning committee on Monday.

It has been recommended for refusal despite attracting 159 letters of support, 
compared with 47 letters of objection.

Mr Nicholson said: “I am convinced it will go ahead.

“It would be very difficult for the council to back pedal.

“The reviews and support we are getting is incredible, and it is all from the local community.”

Objectors include PAG and Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which also has an ice rink.

A report by planning officers warns the application contravenes planning policies which say the council must protect the land for future employment purposes.

It says the application “would detract from the resort core”, and “would not have any significant regeneration benefits.”

The Fylde Coast Ice Arena, which has created 30 new jobs, boasts a large rink, and a smaller studio rink, as well as changing rooms and a cafe.

The rink is large enough to host ice hockey and curling matches, as well as public skating. Investment so far includes around £40,000 on 1,000 pairs of rental skates.

Last time the application was before the council, the committee voted six to one in favour of the facility going ahead.