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Birthday blow after ice rink closure

PUBLISHED: 17:20 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:42 03 July 2010

Let down

Let down

A MUM has told of her anger after her daughter's tenth birthday was disrupted by the closure of the city's ice rink.

Tansi Hinchliffe paid a £50 deposit in May to book a party for her daughter Olivia's 10th birthday at the Ice Experience, on the site of the former Norwich Sport Village in Hellesdon.

A MUM has told of her anger after her daughter's tenth birthday was disrupted by the closure of the city's ice rink.

Tansi Hinchliffe paid a £50 deposit in May to book a party for her daughter Olivia's 10th birthday at the Ice Experience, on the site of the former Norwich Sport Village in Hellesdon.

However, when the family, from Hopton, arrived with six children on Saturday they were dismayed to find it shut. Mrs Hinchliffe said she should have been contacted by the operators to inform her and return the deposit.

This week a spokesman for Pearl Leisure (UK) Ltd, which runs the Drayton Road ice rink, apologised and said the company was unable to contact people who had booked parties as it has been shut out of the rink by the landlord and cannot access any of its records or information.

Mrs Hinchliffe, who also has a six-year-old son, Miles, claimed the round trip from their home in Seaview Rise had taken three hours in two cars.

She said: “They were really disappointed because it had been built up and some had never been skating before. Thankfully the weather was nice so we went to the supermarket and got some food, drove home and had a barbecue instead.

“I'm just annoyed we weren't contacted and told it had shut.”

The Ice Experience closed suddenly on Friday, July 17. It also shut in February and the Evening News understands both times are due to a dispute between the operators and the landlord.

Richard Coulthard, a business associate of Ice Experience co-owners Trevor Watts and Jonathan Gray, said: “They can't get in to pick up any of their mail and they had just a couple of hours before it was shut down.

“The last thing they wanted to do was let all those people down but they haven't got any way of accessing all their records about who has booked parties and put down deposits.”

Mr Watts and Mr Gray are asking for offers in the region of £300,000 for their business running the ice rink, which includes all skates, lockers, and equipment. The 35m by 20m rink, which has a capacity of 450, opened to the public in October 2006.

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