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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham ice rink plans delayed for another year

At the end of May, plans for an ice rink and expanded Christmas Market in Cheltenham were given the all clear by the borough council.

But unfortunately, the impact of the coronavirus crisis has forced the ice rink to be delayed for another year.

With Cheltenham BID will taking over responsibility for running the Christmas Market from the borough council for the first time this year, the ice rink would have been sited at Imperial Gardens in front of the Queens Hotel.

The BID now hopes to host an indoor ice rink for the first time over the Christmas period in 2021.

Mr Blackadder, director of Cheltenham BID said: "We have taken advice on whether it will be safe and economically sensible to go ahead with an ice rink, which brings very different issues for social distancing. The overall opinion is that it would be very difficult to run this year.

"As well as difficulties around social distancing, there is also the question of public confidence. The feedback we have had is that many families will not be confident to use a rink in November and December this year. Several other cities and towns have had to make the same decision."

However, all is not lost for Cheltenham's 2020 festivities with the BID keen to ensure 'Cheltenham has Christmas markets to remember this year'.

A recent update revealed that the team are focusing not only on attracting a wider range and a higher quality of traders but also giving local traders the chance to run the stalls.

New operator Market Place will run the main market in a new location, on The Long Gardens, next to Imperial Gardens and on the pavement opposite. A second operator, Cotswold Markets, well-known for the farmers and craft markets it already runs in Cheltenham, will also be running a Christmas market on pedestrianised area of The Promenade.

Mr Blackadder added: Blackadder said: "For a full month from November 25 to Christmas Eve, we're looking to ensure that Cheltenham has Christmas markets to remember this year.

"We have agreed with Market Place that 70 per cent of their stall space will be offered to local small independent businesses within a 25-mile radius of Cheltenham initially. Cotswold Markets have always worked with popular, locally based stallholders and will do the same this Christmas.

"One of the key messages from the coronavirus epidemic has been that people want to 'shop local' whenever possible with trusted traders. This is what our Christmas market will offer."

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