“PLEASE build an ice rink for the people of Bournemouth.”
That’s the plea from councillors faced with deciding the fate of the multi-million pound Winter Gardens proposals next month.
In a meeting of Bournemouth Borough Council’s planning board on Monday, members of the committee asked developers Inland Ltd to consider adding a rink to their designs.
The proposals currently seek outline planning consent for around 114 flats, a 70-bedroom hotel, a leisure complex, entertainment space and shops, as well as a 550-space car park.
Councillor Ron Whittaker, vice-chair of the committee, said: “[I’d ask for] a reasonably-sized ice rink facility, a facility this town so desperately needs.
“If they [developers] want to sell this to the public and planning board, I hope they will take this on board and come back in September [with plans for] a permanent indoor ice rink.”
His appeal was backed by other councillors, including Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts, who said: “This is a key site for Bournemouth and an opportunity to maintain the heritage of this site.”
He added: “There is a real opportunity to have an ice rink, and a lot of people in this town are calling for one.
“I feel that must be kept in mind.”
Chair of the committee Cllr David Kelsey once again urged planners to return with more information in September.
“My concern is lack of detail,” he said.
“You [developers] have had four chances with lack of detail.”
He added: “I don’t want to be the first chairman to turn something down four times in a row.”
Cllr Roger West said that the town needed a “smart, pleasant and attractive” build for the Winter Gardens site, but added: “I think this development as it stands does not indicate that to me.”
A report received by the committee stated that 11 letters of objection were received by the council during the formal consultation period, along with five letters providing comments.
Among those objecting are the Civic Society, the Save Bournemouth Odeon Campaign and DMH Stallard on behalf of residents and business owners.
The decision will be made during a special meeting of the planning board on Monday, September 29 at 1.30pm.