£1.85m investment set to get ice rink off the ground

15 July 2016

Plans for an ice rink on the edge of Cambridge could glide into action after councillors backed a £1.85 million loan to kick start the build.

Councillors at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet meeting gave the investment the green last night (Thursday 14 July) which would see the Council borrow the money to get the project off the ground.

The loan to Cambridge Leisure and Ice Centre (CLIC) would be repaid to the Council over a period of 25 years with a premium on top so the Council makes a profit that will be invested in providing services to local people.

The loan is the final piece of the funding jigsaw to allow CLIC to begin to build the rink later this year and they believe the ice rink could then open as early as the autumn next year.

The 56 metre by 26 metre permanent rink, with room for up to 1,000 spectators, would be built to international standards on land leased from Marshall next to the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site.

The Ice Arena – which was given planning permission last year – would be open to the public and sporting groups and built using the latest construction technologies to reduce its environmental impact and make it one of the most energy efficient ice rinks in the UK.

The loan will require a final decision by all councillors at a Council meeting in September.  Cllr Simon Edwards, cabinet member for finance, said: “This is a win-win situation all around. The Council has the opportunity to both bring forward a key facility that a huge number of our residents will benefit from, while also making a good commercial decision that will see us generate a return on our investment that we can put straight into local service people want and need.”

For over 20 years CLIC has been searching for a site in and around Cambridge on which to locate the Ice Arena. During this time the £1 million originally donated by alumnus David Gattiker is now worth almost £3 million.

The loan from the Council is the final piece of funding needed for the Arena to move forward to construction. It adds to the original donation and a number of others since.

Cool Venues is CLIC’s turnkey development partner. Having nurtured the Arena from its initial feasibility Cool Venues will lead it through to completion and handover to the operator.

Professor Bill Harris, Chairman of CLIC, said, "It is absolutely wonderful news that South Cambridgeshire District Council is helping us to achieve this hugely desired community project. Their support, combined with Marshall's and that of the University, means that we have almost everything in place now. It will not be long before we start building and turning David Gattiker's dream into a reality for the people of South Cambridgeshire and the City to enjoy for many years to come."

Jim Kay of Cool Venues, said: “CLIC’s determination over the decades now looks like it’s paying off.  The positive approach taken by the Council and Marshall have contributed greatly to breaking the deadlock. All now looks set for local communities and beyond, together with the University’s ice hockey teams, to be strapping on skates later next year.”