Extraordinary meeting to discuss ice rink plans for Chichester

Chichester mayor Martyn Bell is calling for the district council to explore an alternative location for an ice rink currently due to be held in Priory Park
Chichester mayor Martyn Bell is calling for the district council to explore an alternative location for an ice rink currently due to be held in Priory Park

An extraordinary city council meeting is set to discuss plans for a temporary ice rink in Chichester’s Priory Park.

The rink is set to be housed in a marquee with a cafe, changing facilities and skate hire facility south west of the Guildhall, alongside festive food and drink concession stalls.

It would run from late November to early January.

A planning application for a change of use was narrowly supported by Chichester District Council’s planning committee last week narrowly supported by Chichester District Council’s planning committee last week, but final approval has yet to be granted by officers.

An alcohol licence for the site is also being sought for the ice rink site.

Although the economic benefits to the city centre have been highlighted, some have suggested the ice rink is in the wrong place given the potential for disruption to residents living nearby and the impact on the park itself.

Martyn Bell, mayor of Chichester, has submitted a motion due to be discussed at an extraordinary city council meeting on Monday (October 29).

He is urging the district council to examine alternative locations for the ice rink.

However if it does go ahead in Priory Park he suggested the opening hours should reflect the fact that this facility would predominantly be used by families and young people, and argued no licence should be granted to sell alcohol in and next to the rink.

His motion describes how the city council’s planning delegation sub-committee originally raised on objection with the plans.

But he added: “However, as there is now a proposal to serve alcohol, this suggests greater evening use and additional noise disturbance and these issues will need to be considered very carefully by the district council.

“This is doubly important considering the disturbance and nuisance caused to near neighbours by the Oktoberfest weekend.

“In light of the additional information about the alcohol licence that was not before the city council when a recommendation was made on the planning application, the city council now strongly urges the district council to examine an alternative location for the ice rink.”

The Friends of Priory Park held a meeting on Monday (October 22) to discuss the latest around the plans.

Richard Plowman said he had stepped down as the chairman of the group after 15 years with Philip Robinson taking over.

Mr Plowman, who is also a Chichester district councillor, normally sits on the planning committee but had to declare a prejudicial interest at last week’s meeting and could not take part in the debate or vote on the application.

The two main areas of concern were the lack of a professional noise report and alcohol being sold at a family event.

He described how there was a complete consensus the ice rink is a good idea for Chichester, but Priory Park was the wrong place for it to be held.

He added: “The main problem is that Priory Park which is also a war memorial is that it is very close to residents in a normally quiet part of the city. An industrial generator working 24/7 is unlikely to achieve an acceptable level of noise and it will be there for eight weeks, Night time for the residents is going to be unbearable.”

The Friends of Priory Park have also agreed to contribute towards legal expenses for a barrister.