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Skaters left without a home as doors close on ice rink

PUBLISHED: 17:45 31 January 2013

Parents, coaches and children who use Romford Ice Rink are campaigning for a temporary venue after the current one closes in April. Picture David Solomon.

Parents, coaches and children who use Romford Ice Rink are campaigning for a temporary venue after the current one closes in April. Picture David Solomon.

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»Coaches, parents and users of the borough’s only ice rink are campaigning for a temporary venue after discovering it will close in two months.

Romford Ice Rink in Rom Valley Way will officially close on April 15, parents of children who regularly use the facility were told this week. The site will be taken over by Morrisons and a new leisure centre with an ice rink in Western Road is being proposed.

The proposals are subject to planning permission and they are expected to be decided this spring. If passed, the leisure centre will open in two years. But it means that there will be no ice rink in the borough until then.

Campaign group

More than 150 people have joined a campaign group to raise money for a temporary facility. They hope to work with the council to find a venue to use until the new one opens.

The rink’s figure skating coach Karen Solomon said: “We have all got the same aim – to make sure that we have a facility and we don’t lose it. We would have preferred this one to stay open while they build on part of the new site.

“We are hoping that, if we raise the funds, the council will help provide land or a venue. We want to be able to run it as a not-for-profit facility so that the children can still use it for skating.”

Julie Brown’s son Taylor, nine, has been using the ice rink for ice hockey training.

She said: “We knew it would close but we were promised there would be a temporary rink. The closest ones are in Chelmsford and Lea Valley. But they are too far away for people to go to without cars. The children are also part of a team and have become friends and train together. So it will be difficult for them not to still be able to do that.”

The council has confirmed that, after the closure, the ice rink will come back under council control at the end of April.

A council spokesman added: “We have prepared a detailed feasibility study regarding a temporary ice rink but no group has put forward concrete proposals.”

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