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Gloucestershire Business News

Plans submitted for the return of Cheltenham’s ice rink

Back in May 2020, plans for an ice rink and expanded Christmas Market in Cheltenham were given the all clear by the borough council.

But, like so many other events last year, the impact of the coronavirus crisis forced the attraction to be cancelled.

And now, planning permission has been re-submitted to bring the indoor ice rink and Christmas markets back to the town for the upcoming 2021 festive season.

In a statement submitted with the plans, Marketing Cheltenham said: "For businesses, Christmas is always a critical trading period, but having missed out on the traditional festivities in 2020 due to Covid-19, this year's Christmas period will be more important than ever.

"Having an ice rink in Imperial Gardens is therefore a critical part of what we hope will be an enhanced Christmas offer this year and the centrepiece to the newly extended and improved Christmas Market and Christmas lights."

Moving from its former location next to the newly refurbished Quadrangle, it is proposed the attraction will now be sited near Cheltenham's Queens Hotel, for a maximum of 75 days between November 2021 and January 2022.

The change of location is similar to that previously submitted and approved in 2020 (to allow for the redevelopment work at the Quadrangle), but due to the impact of Covid-19 the event was unable to go ahead.

A planning statement said: "The creation of the new Plaza as part of the Quadrangle redevelopment, along with the installation of a new orangery at the Cheltenham Trust Garden Bar has meant that the area of Imperial Gardens on which the ice rink was to be sited is no longer large enough to accommodate the ice rink and supporting structures.

"The square footage that has been lost because of these developments means that an ice rink of only one third of the original intended size and capacity would be possible. Unfortunately, this would render it commercially unviable to proceed.

"Having built up an expectation in the minds of the public over the past two years, it would be a reputational risk for the town, BID and council if we now fail to deliver this. The logical and pragmatic solution therefore is to request an alternate, albeit adjacent, location for the ice rink."

Marketing Cheltenham added: "The ice rink will provide a unique opportunity to engage young people and families from across the borough and, through a partnership with No Child Left Behind, we aim to ensure that as many members of our community as possible have the opportunity to experience and enjoy this spectacular event."

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