Group will fight for new Norwich ice rink after Planet Ice is lost for ever

Campaigners have given up hope of the former Planet Ice skating rink reopening in Norwich, but are now planning action to keep ice sport alive in the city.

A group of ice skating coaches, parents, ice hockey club members and students met yesterday at the Holiday Inn Express, next to the former ice rink on Drayton High Road, and came to the stark realisation they had lost the site for good.

However, the group say they are now readying themselves for a battle to ensure a new ice rink is set up elsewhere in the Norwich area.

They thrashed out the agenda for a public meeting at the same venue tomorrow, and spoke about persuading local authority figures to join them in their fight.

Adrian Wise, chairman of Norwich Norsemen Ice Hockey Team, said: 'That building will never again open as an ice rink; it was never a viable building nor is it a model for a future building.

'I came here from Manchester, where it took us 10 years to get our rink back after we lost it. I do not think I will ever play ice hockey again, but I want my son to be able to.

'We have to tell people at the meeting [tomorrow] we are not prepared to let Planet Ice take this away from us. If we want someone with millions of pounds to invest we need a plan. It is not about how we get that rink back, but how we get a new one.'

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As well as the parents and local clubs, 200 student members of the University of East Anglia's ice hockey club have been put out by the closure of the ice rink earlier this month,

Chairman of the student club Richard Brookman, pictured, has joined in the fight for a new rink.

'We have to make it clear to people what Norwich has to lose or gain from an ice rink,' he said.

'We now have enough people to build an action group and get some momentum going.'

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has spoken of her desire to see ice sport continue in the city, and the group hope she will attend tomorrow, as they are looking for support and advice from local authority figures. The meeting will be held at 6.30pm and is open to the public to attend.

Have you been affected by the rink's closure? Call Joe Wilkes on 01603 772 439 or email joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk

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