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Teen launches campaign to bring back Christmas ice rink

PUBLISHED: 12:23 16 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:23 16 September 2016

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is opening to the public on Friday in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

Children, teachers and parents from St George's Primary school trying out the real ice rink which is opening to the public on Friday in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Hundreds of people have backed a petition to bring back the ice rink to Great Yarmouth’s town centre this winter.

A screenshot of the petition. Picture: thepetitionsite.comA screenshot of the petition. Picture: thepetitionsite.com

The campaign has been launched by residents who were upset by the vote last week by councillors on the economic development committee. Six had voted to bring it back, but seven rejected the idea.

A campaign has been launched to bring back the ice rink to Great Yarmouth town centre this Christmas.

Natalie Butcher, 18, said she did so because she worked part-time at the rink last year and said it was the best Christmas in the town she could remember.

The Belton teenager added: “I’ve not had a Christmas in Yarmouth that has been that good. It was something everyone could do and the atmosphere was so Christmassy.

“A lot of people said they would definitely come back.”

“Me and a couple of my friends wanted to do what we could to bring it back. We were really gutted that it was declined by one vote.”

Councillors who made the decision heard that the temporary rink would have cost nearly £100,000 to open for a second year.

The structure in the Market Place area, used throughout the year for seating, displays and entertainment, was part of a series of events which aimed to increase footfall in the town. And it did just that the council officers reported.

Last year saw 11,300 tickets sold over the 44 days it was in town - and some of those days were rainy which meant the skating had to be cancelled.

Economic development committee councillors voted not to use £92,500 from a one-off reserve pot to bring the rink back. Labour’s Trevor Wainwright said it was a waste of taxpayers money and “most of the people on the estates couldn’t afford to use it.”

Labour’s Michael Jeal said he couldn’t support it while people in the borough were relying on foodbanks. And UKIP leader Kay Grey suggested looking at other options, such as an outside rollerskating rink.

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