Agenda item

Cheltenham Christmas Ice Rink

Report of the Cabinet Member Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing


The Cabinet Member Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing introduced the report, describing the 2021 ice rink as a key success as they recovered from the pandemic and lockdowns. This report sought to build on that success and deliver an even better ice rink in 2022. He noted that last year’s rink had seen a total of 43,000 visitors, an average of nearly 1,000 a day. Their statistics showed that the majority of visitors were local residents, with more than £14m spent in the local economy during that time, alongside the Christmas market. More than 500 vulnerable families received free or discounted tickets as part of No Child Left Behind. In addition to all this, the scheme had covered its costs, delivering a small surplus of around £5,000.

However, there were some responses which had given people pause for thought. Cllr. Seacome was present at the meeting on behalf of some of the residents who complained, and the Cabinet Member assured him that their concerns had been taken into account. This time around, there would be no diesel generator, and they were seeking a cleaner alternative power supply in keeping with the council’s climate change goals. In summary, the report demonstrated their comment to providing wholesome, fun activities at Christmas, as well as a commitment to reducing the impact of those activities.

The Cabinet Member Safety and Communities asked whether the same discounted and free tickets would be available as last year. The Cabinet Member Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing was sure that they would be. Last year’s ice rink had delivered a small cash surplus, expected to be much higher this time, and he was confident this would be suitably reinvested.

The Cabinet Member Housing added that it was a shame many people had been unable to enjoy the rink last year due to fears around the Omicron variant, and she was pleased that visitors could attend with more confidence in their safety this year. It would be a huge economic boost to the town in tandem with the Christmas market. The Cabinet Member Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing agreed that last year they had undertaken an ambitious project and the risk had paid off. This year, people could be much more confident about safety, and they could expect a higher turnout as a result.

The Leader moved to the vote, where it was unanimously:


1.    In advance of planning permission being considered by the Planning Committee on (anticipated 18 August 2022), and noting the costs and risks set out in this report, Cheltenham Borough Council agrees to lead the delivery of an Ice Rink in Cheltenham for the 2022 Christmas period;

2.    A total potential financial commitment as set out in section 2.22 of this report alongside the income targets be approved;

3.    It be noted that officers are progressing procurement, and that the authority to appoint a contractor to provide the Ice Rink be delegated to the Director of Communities and Economic Development, including agreeing the terms of the contract and entrance fees, in consultation with Director of Finance and Assets and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing.

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