Ice rink supporters' dismay at Chesterfield council decision

Will Chesterfield ever get an ice rink?
Will Chesterfield ever get an ice rink?
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Councillors have rubber-stamped plans to install a sports pitch at the site of Chesterfield's former Queen's Park Sports Centre - vexing ice rink supporters.

The artificial all-weather 3G pitch will be used for sports including football, hockey, rugby and athletics.

Chesterfield Borough Council councillors met yesterday to formally agree the installation of the estimated £688,000 pitch, which will bring in a projected income of around £55,000 per year.

A planning application for the facility is expected to be submitted to the authority early next year.

According to the borough council, the pitch will help meet a need identified by Sport England for artificial pitches in the area and improve the health and wellbeing of residents.

However, commenting on the authority's Facebook page, Darlene Elliott said: "We are disappointed it's not an ice rink. That would have been a great family venue option."

Liam Scott Donaldson added: "I'm pretty sure most people wanted an ice rink."

A number of people posted to say they were in favour of the new pitch.

One of them, Kass Rutherford, said: "Brilliant news for the kids' football teams. It's hard to find anywhere for them to do their training in winter."

According to the results of a consultation last year, 69 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the borough council's preferred option of an artificial all-weather 3G pitch at the site; 23 per cent disagreed.

An ice rink was one of the three most common alternatives suggested by those who took part in the consultation.

In February, councillors received a 1,498-signature petition calling for an ice rink at the site.

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, the borough council's deputy leader, said at the time: "In the current financial climate - which has seen our Government funding reduce by more than half since 2010 - it is not feasible for the council to build, maintain and cover the running costs of an ice rink.

"We will, however, support any commercial operators who feel they could build and sustain an ice rink by offering any advice and support to improve the borough’s sport and leisure offer."

The old Queen's Park Sports Centre was demolished earlier this year.

The centre closed two years ago, a few days before the new £11.25million Queen's Park Sports Centre opened further up Boythorpe Avenue.