LEEDS has taken a step closer to having a permanent ice rink after agreement was reached between developers and the city council over a new facility on Elland Road.
The rink, close to Leeds United FC, will be built by the Ice Rink Company and run by Lichfield-based operators Silver Blades.
The scheme will include an ice pad, 1,000 + seats, a cafe and car parking. A detailed report to grant planning permission will be submitted within the next three months.
It is intended that the ice rink will provide a wide range of public skating sessions and lessons, as well as housing an ice hockey team, although with only around 1,000 seats planned it’s doubtful any team playing there would go on to apply for membership in the UK’s top-flight Elite League.
Councillor Richard Lewis, the council’s executive board member for development, said: “We have been working with The Ice Rink Company for some time, and are delighted that the development agreement to bring a 1,000-seat ice rink facility to Elland Road has now been completed.
“The scheme design and a planning application are currently being prepared, and will be submitted in the next few months. The intention is to have this exciting new leisure facility open for the public in autumn 2014.”
IRC has previously built rinks in Altrincham, Cannock, and Gillingham and has a fourth one in Widnes opening towards late September. The Altrincham rink opened in 2007 and houses the Manchester Phoenix ice hockey team, a former Elite League club who have played in the English Premier League – effectively the sport’s second tier – for the last three years.
IRC managing director Mark Johnson said he was confident a new rink would prove popular in Leeds.
“There is tremendous interest in Leeds,” said Johnson. “This facility has to recognize the needs of the local community and match it with a set of services that are recreational, beneficial and affordable.”