Controversial plans for new ice rink in town park

Proposed ice rink in Horsham Park SUS-170708-132609001
Proposed ice rink in Horsham Park SUS-170708-132609001

Controversial new plans have been put forward to build a temporary ice rink in Horsham Park on the site of an existing volleyball court.

Public protests led to the postponement of previous proposals to convert the volleyball court into a ‘hardstanding’ events area.

Now a new planning application has been submitted to Horsham District Council by Horsham Outdoor Events - the company which ran a festive ice rink on a Camping World site in Brighton Road, Horsham, last year.

But opposition to the new proposals for the marquee-style rink - planned to be sited in Horsham Park for 102 days from October 20 to January 28 2018 - is already being voiced.

Nearby residents fear that it will lead to increased parking problems and noise, as well as being detrimental to wildlife and an erosion of parkland.

In a protest letter to the council one objector asked: “Where are all the cars going to go? The Capitol (theatre) struggles already to attract people. If all the available spaces are taken, will they bother to come to the panto? Where will the Christmas shoppers park?,” adding: “An out-of-town venue is the only answer to the security, parking and noise issues that will arise.”

Another said simply: “Leave the park alone.” And another added: “The ice rink was fine where it was.”

Sally Sanderson, who spearheaded opposition to original proposals for a hardstanding events area said: “An ice rink for the town to enjoy is a good idea. However, the park is the wrong site.” She said it was not near enough to the town centre and too near to busy roads with inadequate parking. She said she feared it would mean the loss of part of the park to permanent commercial ventures.

Meanwhile, a statement on a website called Horsham Ice Rink, states: “We are so excited to announce the opening of our rink in 2017. Our fully covered 20 x 30 metre rink offers a fun filled experience for the whole family whatever the weather. All ages from 4 years are welcome to skate whatever your level of ability and our friendly family of penguins will be available for hire for our younger skaters.” It says opening times are ‘to be advised.’

A spokesman for Horsham Outdoor Events declined to comment, saying: “We are still in the negotiations stage at present.”