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What sort of winter wonderland attraction should be provided in Cambridge in 2023?





A survey has been launched by Cambridge City Council, which will run until January 31, 2023.

The results will be used by the council to design what winter entertainment should be on offer in the city next year and event providers will then be invited to tender for the work.

The North Pole attraction in Cambridge in December 2021. Picture: SkyTech Cambridge
The North Pole attraction in Cambridge in December 2021. Picture: SkyTech Cambridge

As the Cambridge Independent reported, the council pulled the plug on providing a winter wonderland attraction on Parker’s Piece.

Its contract with the provider of the North Pole attraction - which brought ice skating and fairgrounds rides, along with an ice bar and ice slide to the park - came to an end last year.

Although it received new bids to run an attraction, the council said it decided not to proceed after weighing up their risks against their benefits. It was particularly mindful of the environmental impact of such attractions, given its declaration of climate and biodiversity emergencies, and the impact on the ground at Parker’s Piece.

The North Pole ice slide on Parker's Piece. Picture: Keith Heppell
The North Pole ice slide on Parker's Piece. Picture: Keith Heppell

There were 50,000 skaters and around 200,000 visitors to the site in 2021-22, with an observation wheel also giving views over the site. Attractions in the past have also included a food market, or food and drink stalls.

Cllr Alex Collis, executive councillor for open spaces, food justice and community development, said: “Our city’s seasonal events and attractions are popular with both residents and visitors, and help to attract footfall and consumer spend, which in turn helps our local businesses and the wider city economy.

The North Pole attraction on Parker's Piece in the winter of 2021-22. Picture: Keith Heppell
The North Pole attraction on Parker's Piece in the winter of 2021-22. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We are looking to develop a new winter offer, which is in keeping with our magical city; diverse and inclusive and has something for everyone to enjoy. Given our vision for Cambridge to be net zero carbon by 2030, the offer also needs to have environmental sustainability as a key design objective.

“This survey provides residents and visitors with the opportunity to help inform and shape our thinking around what this entertainment offer should be, and I urge you to participate.”

The site of the North Pole attraction on Parker's Piece being dismantled in January 2022. Picture: Keith Heppell
The site of the North Pole attraction on Parker's Piece being dismantled in January 2022. Picture: Keith Heppell

The survey can be found at https://cambridge.citizenlab.co/en-GB/projects/winter-event-on-parker-s-piece



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