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New report assesses whether Great Yarmouth’s ice rink was a worthwhile venture

PUBLISHED: 13:02 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:26 15 February 2018

Great Yarmouth Christmas Fayre and Ice Rink. November 2017.  Picture: James Bass Photography

Great Yarmouth Christmas Fayre and Ice Rink. November 2017. Picture: James Bass Photography

(C) JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY

It gave more than 7,000 people a taste of winter wonderland and achieved its goal of increasing town centre footfall - but was Great Yarmouth’s ice rink a worthwhile venture?

The real ice rink in Great Yarmouth, continues until January 2.The real ice rink in Great Yarmouth, continues until January 2.

This is the question councillors in the town will be mulling over as a report on the rink is presented next week.

The rink, which stood proud in the town’s market place from November 23 until January 2 welcomed a total of 7,010 skaters, but came at a cost.

The report, which will be presented to the borough council’s economic development committee on Monday, shows both the cost and revenue of the project, revealing a deficit of £118,966, with the rink costing £200,066 and bringing in £81,100.

The detailed report contains in-depth analysis of the rink’s impact on the town centre, including footfall figures and feedback from both retailers and market traders in the town.

Footfall figures compared with 2016 - when there was no rink - saw more than an additional 30,000 visit to the town centre, with 432,516 given as the overall number of people visiting the centre over the seven week period.

The week leading up to Christmas - the week commencing December 17 - saw a 22.6pc boost on the same week in 2016.

However, traders were sceptical over whether this increase translated into additional trade.

Council officers surveyed market traders over the project, receiving 34 responses. Of these, 90pc felt the rink and the town’s Christmas Fayre were a waste of money and did nothing for the town.

The report concludes: “It is clear the installation of an ice rink provided the headline statement it was intended for. Footfall figures showed an increase in people visiting the town centre and there was a clear buzz about its installation.

“However, the rink did come at significant cost and officer resource. It is therefore for the members to consider whether or not they would want to see another rink installed for Christmas 2018, which is likely to be at a similar cost.”

The report also confirms the date of this year’s Christmas light switch on - which will take place on Friday, November 30.

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