Rink on thin ice after Government steps in

Supporters show their enthusiasm for the ice rink proposal outside the town hall in Blackpool.
Supporters show their enthusiasm for the ice rink proposal outside the town hall in Blackpool.
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PLANS for a new ice rink in Blackpool are facing fresh uncertainty.

The scheme to convert the former TVR car factory in Bristol Avenue, Bispham, into a skating arena won the backing of Blackpool Council’s planning committee last week.

But the Government has now intervened and may block the ambitious proposals, which has been supported by young Fylde skaters.

But a spokesman for Blackpool Council said: “The planning application for an ice rink on the TVR site was agreed in principle by the planning committee but deferred to officers. Following receipt of a letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), we cannot issue the planning permission until authorisation from the Secretary of State has been received.

“We are now awaiting DCLG’s findings before we are able to continue with the application and expect to hear back from them within 21 days.”

Alex Ferguson, of the Fylde Coast Figure Skating Club which supports the plans, said she hoped the committee’s decision would stand.

She added: “The council has looked at all the arguments and the councillors agreed the application, so even if it is being looked at from a higher level, I believe the decision should stand.

“The only opposition I could see came from someone with a similar business, but competition is not a reason to withhold planning permission.

“Our young skaters are very much looking forward to this scheme going ahead.”

Planning officers had recommended the application be refused because the land is currently earmarked for industrial and employment use in the local plan, rather than leisure use.

The owners of the Jubilee Leisure Park in Cleveleys, which includes the Sub Zero ice rink, had opposed the application because they claim the facility would impact on their business.

The Bristol Avenue scheme would see an Olympic-sized rink built on the site which up until six years ago was home to the TVR sports car manufacturing base.

Parts of the factory have already been given over to leisure use, with two gyms now operating from separate units.

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