Officials to look into bringing back the Christmas ice rink in Yarmouth

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is opening to the public on Friday in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A Labour councillor described the ice rink in Great Yarmouth's town centre last year as a 'gimmick'.

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is opening to the public on Friday in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

And when it came to a vote to look into bringing it back next year, all four Labour councillors on the borough council's economic development committee voted against.

The ice rink saw 11,300 adult, child and group tickets sold over 44 days, and it was largely met with praise, but it cost the council £108,546, and a report seen by councillors admitted it was unlikely a rink would ever become a 'self-financing venture'.

Committee chairman Barry Coleman, the Conservative councillor for East Flegg, said: 'We may or may not be able to do it this time, but we need more information such as what the costings are and we want officers to go out and see every possible option.'

Howeverm, Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group and Magdalen ward councillor, was worried about money from the Town Centre BID being used to fund the rink.

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is opening to the public on Friday in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

'This money was not to put on gimmicks, it was to increase the footfall in the town centre. We wanted that money to be spent in bringing things like Thornton's back to life and it's going to cost the taxpayer.'

It was estimated it would cost £108,917 to bring the rink back this year, then £109,181 and £109,328 in subsequent years.

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Cllr Wainwright said the cost of the rink meant for every pair of skates the council had lost £10.

'We might as well just give everyone a £10 note,' he added.

The majority of the committee voted to give officers permission to investigate further, with Labour councillors Trevor Wainwright, Kerry Robinson Payne, Michael Jeal and Sylvia Pratt voting against.