Fans of the winter ice rink in Worthing will be able to get their skates on for another six years thanks to Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee.
Unanimous permission was given for the rink, which has been part of the Steyne Gardens Christmas scene for years, to be run from November to February until 2026.
Paul Baker (Con, Broadwater) summed up the feelings of the committee when he said: “This is an asset to the town, brings people into the town and everyone I speak to loves going there with their families and really enjoy it.”
When asked why the rink was already up and running when the last permission ran out in March, Richard Bradley, of Town Centre Ice Rinks, said: “That was an oversight on my behalf. We had planning permission for five years. I actually thought we had another year left on it.
“As soon as we realised what happened, we contacted the council and we put a planning application in.”
Mr Bradley assured the committee the same mistake would not be made again.
Questions were asked about the adequacy of toilet facilities set up at the ice rink in previous years, with concerns having been raised about overflow and raw sewage.
Regarding the latter, Mr Bradley said: “What we sometimes have a problem with is the street drinkers. That’s why the toilet is in a marquee.
“At night – I’ve seen it for myself – they come along and if they can’t get into the toilets they’ll defecate right outside it as a bit of a protest. That’s what that was.
“We’ve never had a problem with raw sewage from those toilets.”
He added that a leak seen two years ago was from a hand basin and was water not sewage.
When it came to the condition of the grass in Steyne Gardens, he told the committee Town Centre Ice Rinks had paid in full for re-seeding work and would continue to do so. He pointed out that it takes around six weeks for the new grass to grow.
Mr Bradley said the rink brought around 22,000 skaters to Worthing every year, to the benefit of other local businesses.
He told the committee the company was looking at how to improve the facilities surrounding the rink ‘such as lights in trees at the north end of Steyne Gardens, which can be used year round for everyone’s benefit’.
Mr Bradley added: “It’s more than a business. We see it as a community asset as well.”