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Carlisle to get its own ice rink - and it will be open within weeks

Carlisle is getting its own ice rink and it’s likely to be open within weeks.

People will be pulling on their skates at Bitts Park, where work is also starting to create a high ropes adventure centre.

The city council is spending £60,000 on buying an open-air rink as part of a joint venture with Carlisle Leisure Limited.

Up to 76 people at any one time will be able to venture out on to the synthetic surface, which will be 28x12 sq m.

It will be based on one of the park’s older and lesser used tennis courts, but is portable, meaning it could be moved elsewhere when the tennis season is at its peak, or into the city centre for festive celebrations.

The nearest indoor ice rink to Carlisle is 25 miles away in Lockerbie.

Council leader Colin Glover said: “An ice rink is something people in the city have requested for many years, but it’s something that’s always going to be difficult in terms of a large, fixed rink because of the cost of doing it.

“This will be a real asset for the city, so close to the high ropes area and the tennis dome. We’re now able to offer really good, diverse sports in that area.”

Mr Glover believes the combination of attractions being created in Bitts Park will draw more visitors.

“I am confident it will not only be an asset for people who live in the city, but for those who visit as well, who will also spend money in shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s something that will bring people into the city,” he added.

The ice rink has been ordered from a specialist company in Spain and is about to be shipped over.

Once in Carlisle, it could be put in place within hours.

News of the spend on the ice rink comes just days after 21 play areas in the Carlisle district became casualties of spending cuts, with swings and slides removed from those least used.

Mr Glover says the £60,000 being invested in the new attraction comes on top of about the same amount being spent upgrading existing play equipment.

Profits from the rink will be shared with Carlisle Leisure, which will operate it on the council’s behalf. Officials say it’s an investment that will pay its way.

Andy King, Carlisle Leisure’s managing director, said: “We’re always looking for ways to encourage more people to be active and the ice rink is something that will appeal to people of all ages.”

Building work, meanwhile, will start in the high ropes area – which will employ three permanent and 20 seasonal staff – within the next fortnight and should be completed by April, ready for the Easter holiday market.

It is being managed by the firm UA Urban Adventure and stands in the shadow of Carlisle Castle.

Director Steve Whitehead said: “We will offer a huge range of activities for all age ranges – from an exhilarating 70m zip wire to everyone being given the chance to push their personal boundaries on the climbing wall which is unique in its design.”

The ice rink surface is the most modern available.

Most skaters will not notice the difference between it and ice – apart from the fact they won’t get wet when they fall.

Costs are expected to be £3.50 plus £1.50 for skate hire for a child, and £5 plus £1.50 skate hire for an adult.

Have your say

Hope my Nana doesn't get her benefits cut -

Posted by Wally Wembley on 5 March 2014 at 22:46

£60,000 spent on a completely unfeasible (and rubbish) project. In the meanwhile we are losing our playparks.

Posted by Brian on 27 February 2014 at 13:33

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