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Construction of Cambridge's Ice Arena can begin after £1.85m loan approved

Cambridge Ice Arena - an artists impression of the rink
Cambridge Ice Arena - an artists impression of the rink

The construction of a long-awaited ice rink for Cambridge could soon begin after South Cambridgeshire councillors approved a £1.85million loan.

Cambridge Ice Arena - an artists impression of the arena
Cambridge Ice Arena - an artists impression of the arena

Members of the full council agreed on Thursday (September 22) to borrow the money and loan it to Cambridge Leisure and Ice Centre (CLIC).

The money will be repaid to the council over 25 years, with a premium for the council. This profit will be invested into local services.

It is hoped that the 56 metre by 26 metre permanent Ice Arena, with room for up to 1,000 spectators, could open in autumn 2017.

It will be built to international standards on land leased from Marshall next to the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council's cabinet member for finance, said:"I am really pleased the council will be providing this loan as it will mean this key and long-awaited facility can now become a reality. By loaning the money we are delivering a facility that a huge number of our residents will benefit from, while also making sure we generate a return on the investment that we can put straight into local service people want and need. In around a year's time our residents will be enjoying one of the best ice facilities in the country."

The Ice Arena, given planning permission last year, will be open to the public and sporting groups.

It will be built using the latest construction technologies to reduce its environmental impact and make it one of the most energy efficient ice rinks in the UK.

CLIC has been searching for a site in the Cambridge area for the Ice Arena for 20 years.

A donation of £1 million donated by Cambridge University alumnus David Gattiker is now worth almost £3 million.

A number of other donations have followed and the counil loan was described as the final piece of the funding jigsaw that will enable CLIC to begin to building the rink by the end of this year.

Cool Venues, CLIC's turnkey development partner, has developed the Arena from its initial feasibility study and will lead it through to completion and handover to the operator.

CLIC chairman Professor Bill Harris said,"It is absolutely wonderful news that South Cambridgeshire District Council is helping us to achieve this hugely desired community project. Their support, combined with Marshall's and that of the university, means that we have almost everything in place now. It will not be long before we start building and turning David Gattiker's dream into a reality for the people of South Cambridgeshire and the city to enjoy for many years to come."

Jim Kay, of Cool Venues, added:"This loan from the council is the final, key ingredient to enable construction to start soon. CLIC's determination over the decades has at last paid off. The positive approach and concerted effort of the council, Marshall and the university have contributed greatly to breaking the deadlock.

"Once formalities are completed we'll be moving onto site and starting the fast-track construction. We look forward to working with the local communities, schools and other interest groups to develop a bespoke programme of events that will provide ice activity for all. And with a permanent ice pad so close to home the university's ice hockey teams will benefit substantially as well."

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