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Great Yarmouth ice rink figures lead to heated debate

PUBLISHED: 19:55 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 20 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

The ice rink that cost Great Yarmouth Borough Council £118,000 was a success by creating a vibrant atmosphere and raising the profile of traders, councillors have agreed.

Tonight a meeting of the council’s economic development committee saw the positive messages passed as a motion - despite some councillors saying the project was a flop.

The committee heard the ice rink cost £200,066, below original estimates of £222,000, but had been left with a deficit of £118, 966 - money that will have to be found from the council’s town centre initiative.

Members heard footfall increases during the ice rink period were higher than compared with national festive averages.

However Trevor Wainwright, Labour group leader, said: “It is a vanity project that has been an abject failure.”

He added the council would have been better to hand each voter £17 each to spend in the town centre than spending it on the ice rink.

Fellow Labour councillor Michael Jeal said: “It is a project that obviously failed.”

Committee chairman Barry Coleman put forward the motion and said: “It helped to create a vibrant atmosphere and helped to raise the profile of town centre retailing.”

The rink, which was in the town’s market place from November 23 until January 2, welcomed a total of 7,010 skaters.

During the period it is estimated an extra 30,000 people visited the town centre.

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