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£550,000 additional funding approved to finish Cambridge ice rink

More than half a million pounds of additional funding has been approved to complete a permanent ice rink in South Cambridgeshire.

The £550,000 loan will add to the £1.85m South Cambridgeshire District Council agreed to lend the project in September 2016.

Cllr John Williams, the authority’s lead cabinet member for finance, said: “We thought long and hard about whether we should grant this additional funding. However, we all want this ice rink to be a fantastic facility that our residents can enjoy for many years.

“This is about us investing in a community facility that will benefit the health and wellbeing of our residents. On the basis of an independent assessment of the project so far, we understand the additional funding will enable the ice rink to be completed to the exacting standards required and then go on to become a valuable community asset.”

Cambridge Leisure and Ice Centre (CLIC) is building the new rink, off Newmarket Road.

The multi-million pound rink will boast a 340-seat arena, have room for several hundred more standing spectators, and be one of the most energy efficient ice rinks in the country.

Up to 25 new jobs are expected to be created and the 56 metre by 26 metre ice pad will also meet the requirements of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Building work on the site, which is being leased by Marshall of Cambridge to CLIC, began in November last year.

But progress was halted following the discovery of 194 small grenades dating back to the Second World War. Specialist contractors had to be brought in to assess the entire site and ensure it was safe for construction to continue.

Building work re-commenced in late January, but the delay resulted in further costs.

The council’s loan funding will only be released in stages as phases of work are completed.

Professor Bill Harris, chairman of CLIC, said: “Since the day we found unexploded ordnance from World War Two on the site and had to spend time and money to clear it up and make it totally safe, building this ice rink for the community has been a challenge for the charitable company, Cambridge Leisure and Ice Centre (CLIC) to deliver on time.

“But after more than twenty years of continuous effort from CLIC, a few grenades weren't going to stop us, and now thanks to the loan from South Cambridgeshire District Council at this stage, we can finish the project soon.

“A range of measures to speed up the outstanding construction work is under evaluation with the aim of opening the venue as early as possible next year. The anticipated launch date will be announced very soon.”

The additional funding was approved at a full council meeting on Thursday, November 29.

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