Should the ice rink come back to Great Yarmouth town centre?

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: J

Christmas lights switch on in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth.The Ice Rink.November 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Higher than expected fuel and security costs dented takings at Great Yarmouth’s festive ice-rink although overall its performance exceeded expectations.

Speaking at Wednesday night’s full council meeting deputy leader Barry Coleman revealed the total cost of bringing the attraction to the town came in under budget at £108,545.

The figure took into account ticket sales of £67,000 which were 20pc higher than expected while sponsorship was “on target,” he said.

A £1m fund set-aside to boost the town centre when by the Labour group when they were in control had so far only spent £120,000 on consultants to produce a master plan and “a bold statement of intent” was needed while that was still progressing, he added.

He said: “Whilst waiting to see what long term developments could take place, I felt that the borough needed a bold statement of intent. Following discussions with officers the opportunity of a real ice rink became a real possibility at an approximate cost to the Town Centre Initiative of £100,000.

“Following supportive comments from both other party leaders, the decision to proceed was taken in early October leaving just five weeks to get it operational. Something that the whole council should congratulate the relevant offers on magnificent job.”

Mr Coleman, who was responding to a question from Malcolm Bird, described the rink as “a resounding success” which was directly responsible for increased footfalls - up 25pc on switch-on night - bucking local and national trends.

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He said the total cost would have been below £100.000 had it not been for extra security costs and exceptionally mild weather in December resulting in higher fuel costs. “Remember, some rinks melted completely,” he added.

And as well as boosting trade in the town centre it gave residents of all ages the chance to experience a new activity at reasonable cost, he told members.

Some 11,200 skaters took to the rink over the five weeks.

He said it was too soon to say whether the rink would be back this year, adding: “I personally would like to see a landmark feature in the town centre next December, and I think it would be difficult to better an ice rink. I am happy to campaign to offer residents such opportunities. Anything is possible.”