Chichester Priory Park ice rink plans: Concerns shared with council leaders

Layout of ice rink proposed for Priory Park
Layout of ice rink proposed for Priory Park

Plans for a temporary ice rink in Chichester’s Priory Park have continued to attract some decidedly un-festive feelings.

While the idea of a rink in the city over Christmas was largely welcomed, proposals by S3K to place it in the park have been opposed by a number of nearby residents and some councillors.

Now members of the district council’s cabinet have been bombarded with questions from the public about everything from the financial viability of the rink, the damage it could cause to the park, to the safety of customers in bad weather.

During the meeting, at East Pallant House on Tuesday (November 6) members were also told a group of regular park users and nearby residents had appointed a barrister to look into the matter, and that a letter had been sent to chief executive Diane Shepherd.

Leader Tony Dignum said the letter was being considered by the council’s principal solicitor and divisional development manager and a reply would be sent ‘as soon as possible’.

Regarding the question of safety, Mr Dignum said the council had ‘strict requirements’ when it came to the hiring of land for events and that all health and safety standards had to be met.

As for the financial viability of the rink, the meeting was told that it was up to the contractor to assess the relevant risks and bear any losses. There would be no comeback on the council if the rink was not a financial success.

A planning application, to run the rink from late November to early January, was supported by district councillors in October delegating a final decision to officers – although it only got through on the chairman’s casting vote.

However, because significant changes to the plans have been made in the last month, it will be reconsidered by the committee on Wednesday November 14.