Hull Council drops Ice Arena from £130m Albion Square project highlighting 'wilding' plan instead

Hull Council has dropped plans to relocate the city's Ice Arena as part of the delayed £130m Albion Square development.

Plans for a mixed-use residential, retail and leisure scheme, including a new home for the Ice Arena, were launched in 2017.

But on Tuesday the council announced they were no longer moving the Ice Arena there, saying instead it will “explore other areas" of the city centre.

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It said revised plans going to the planning committee later this year will include a large urban park, adding: "The wilding of the area will create a new green space for the city centre."

The Three Ships mural in Hull city centre

The project has been hit by delays, with the Grade II listing of the landmark Three Ships mural on the BHS/Co-op building in 2019 throwing a spanner in the works.

Councillors had originally agreed to knock the structure down because it was riddled with asbestos.

On Tuesday Hull Council - which is borrowing around £55m to finance the scheme - confirmed the mural would be incorporated and made a “key component” of the new development, featuring residential, retail and office space.

Estimates last month put the cost of bulldozing the former BHS/Co-op building and saving the mural at between £7m and £10m.

An artist's impression of the Albion Square development in 2019

Council leader Daren Hale said the plans would create a city centre “oasis” and they looked to replicate the success of the Fruit Market scheme on the Marina with a mixture of “first-class” residential property and office space.

He said: “The inclusion of an urban woodland will create an iconic city centre location that the whole city can enjoy.”

However leader of the Lib Dems Mike Ross branded the project “a saga of dither and delay” and said they would be demanding to find out how much had been spent on the scheme so far.

He said: “It looks to me the whole thing needs to go back to the drawing board, consult with the local community and find a plan that will actually work.”