Christmas ice rink idea evaporates

An ice rink never materialised in the Dane John

Canterbury City Council has failed to find a company to operate to an ice rink in the city over Christmas.

It had begun a tendering process for this year after the firm which wanted to run a rink in the Dane John Gardens last year failed to actually a deliver one.

But the authority says none of the firms which expressed an interest completed the tender process.

Among the reasons they gave were the need for a subsidy from the council or a cut in hire fees and a desire for a different venue.

There was also a request for a larger footprint in the Dane John Gardens, a proposal to close much later at night and permission for more concessions selling food and drink.

Communities chairman Cllr Neil Baker

The council says that there would have been too little time to consider the requests and that it was too risky to do so.

Communities chairman Cllr Neil Baker said: “We know people will be bitterly disappointed but throughout this process it was important an
ice rink did not cost council taxpayers money.

“If we had given a subsidy, residents would end up paying twice. Once through their council tax bills even if they didn’t don a pair of ice skates and then again if they wanted to practice their twists, turns and spins.

“In the meantime, the provider would be making a profit. We also had to be mindful of the needs of the residents and other businesses in the area and protect their interests too.”

Cllr Baker added that there had been huge public interest in an ice rink when the proposal emerged last year and that the council would continue to be open to other potential operators.

Any company which wants the tender would have to pay a fixed fee to hire the Dane John Gardens and to cover the costs of extra waste collections, the extra cleaning of public toilets plus additional electricity and water.


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