IT WOULD become the south’s first Olympic-sized permanent ice rink, costing private developers £20m, but now civic chiefs have poured cold water on the new plans.
The mixed-use development proposed by Aethos Development Ltd, which was due to go before Winchester city councillors last night, would transform the old depot site at Bar End in Winchester.
It also includes an 120-bed hotel, restaurant, coffee house and convenience store.
There would also be 10-pin bowling and indoor caving featured within the arena development.
The project is supported by Olympic champions and Dancing on Ice stars Torvill and Dean, and Robin Cousins.
The site would be self-sufficient in power but will also provide the new leisure centre, due to be built adjacent to the depot site, with sufficient power to heat the swimming pools and buildings, which it is claimed will save the local authority £200,000 year.
Edna Boden, from the Winchester Ice Sport Association, said: “It’s completely privately funded, it will not cost the taxpayer anything.
“As it’s planned next to the proposed new leisure centre [at Bar End], it will work as a heat exchange; heat generated by cooling the ice rink can be used to heat the leisure centre. It should save the council around £200,000 in running costs.”
“I just hope the councillors will look favourably on it.”
When asked whether the planned permanent ice rink would impact on the annual temporary facility which runs in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral alongside the Christmas market, Ms Boden said: “Places like London have four or five. It will only enhance Winchester.”
However, a spokesman for Winchester City Council has now put the plans in doubt.
The spokesman said: “The council-owned depot site is not currently on the market and no negotiations have taken place with Aethos Development.”
If approved, the permanent ice rink would also bring Olympic curling to the south as the first purpose built, four-lane curling rink in England.