Huge appetite for brand-new ice skating rink in Lee Valley
PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 September 2019
An overwhelmingly positive response has been received for major plans to create a stunning new ice-skating destination in east London.
The sustainably designed twin rink ice centre would replace the ageing Lee Valley Ice Centre on its current site, which is at risk of closure.
More than 80 per cent of responses to the consultation positively supported the plans for a new ice centre, which include a new café, gym, dance studio, community spaces and environmental enhancements to the surrounding landscape.
A total of 1,360 contributions were received on the dedicated digital engagement platform, which asked users for their views on the proposals, as well as what areas should be prioritised for the new ice centre as the plans progress.
Key feedback included: Public facilities such as a new café, increased ice and continuity of ice were selected by respondents as the most important features to be incorporated in the designs; Wildflower meadows, walking routes through the existing woodlands and outdoor seating were respondents' top three priorities to be included in the landscape plans.
The new centre, which would cost around £30 million, would double the amount of ice currently available and would also expand the offer to include a gym and dance studio.
It would operate in an entirely new way, acting as a gateway to award winning nearby open spaces of Lee Valley Regional Park. The inclusion of a café, open to people visiting the nearby marshes and community spaces would open up the centre to everyone, providing a setting off point for walkers, runners and cyclists.
The surrounding landscape would be transformed, replacing areas largely devoid of ecological value with significant native planting. This would not only increase the wildlife in the area but would also be a vast aesthetic improvement.
The new venue would be designed with sustainability at its heart, with innovative energy, construction and water re-use methods a key part of the designs.
LVRPA is aiming to submit a planning application for the new ice centre in early October, with a view to commencing construction in early 2021 should planning permission be received.
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Lee Valley Regional Park Authority chief executive Shaun Dawson said: "We are delighted to have received overwhelmingly positive responses to our new venue from local stakeholders, ice users and the community.
"We know how vital both Lee Valley Ice Centre and the wider opportunities for leisure and physical activity are in this part of London.
"We're proposing a fantastic new ice centre, which would enable many more people to get active on the ice, as well as use the gym, dance studios, café and community spaces.
"We believe these opportunities would benefit people from the local Waltham Forest and Hackney communities, across the capital and from the wider region.
"We will continue to engage with the community and look forward to reporting back on how the public's views have helped shape our proposals ahead of planning submission in October."
Neil Mattinson, Director at landscape architect LDA Design, said: "The enhancement of the biodiversity and landscape surrounding the site are at the heart of our plans for Lee Valley Ice Centre.
"The creation of new habitats and significant ecological enhancement will protect existing wildlife and flora as well as encourage a greater bio-diverse range of native species to the site and its surroundings."
Jess, 20, has been skating at Lee Valley Ice Centre for more than 10 years.
She shared what Lee Valley Ice Centre means to her: "I think Lee Valley Ice Centre is so important not just for the skaters but also the wider community, especially in east London, where the ice centre is.
"It provides a safe and fun environment for young people to be able to meet and socialise - there aren't many other options like that for children these days."
The public consultation on the plans for a new twin rink Lee Valley Centre was launched on June, 26, 2019 and concluded earlier this week on September, 1, 2019.
During this period, members of the public were invited to have their say on the plans by visiting the website, www.icecentreredevelopment.com or dropping in to one of four public events that took place across Waltham Forest and Hackney.