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Brand-new ice skating destination to replace ageing Lee Valley Ice Centre

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 June 2019

View of proposed new twin rink Lee Valley Ice Centre from Lea Bridge Road (Pic: FaulknerBrowns Architects and LDA Design)

View of proposed new twin rink Lee Valley Ice Centre from Lea Bridge Road (Pic: FaulknerBrowns Architects and LDA Design)

Credit: FaulknerBrowns Architects and LDA Design;

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority unveils plans for 'twice the ice' at new Olympic-sized twin rink ice centre.

The major plans to create a stunning new ice skating destination in east London were unveiled yesterday in a bid to protect the future of ice in the area.

The sustainably designed twin rink ice centre would replace the ageing Lee Valley Ice Centre, which is at risk of closure.

There are currently 279,000 visits a year to the much-loved 34-year-old Lee Valley Ice Centre, a third from local communities and the rest from London as a whole and the wider region.

It gives a range of people the chance to exercise and enjoy sport and leisure activities through a variety of activities.

However, the venue is reaching the end of its working life and is struggling to meet increasing demand.

If it is not replaced, this key community asset will be lost.

The existing ice centre provides hugely popular public skating sessions, is home to a thriving community of ice hockey teams and competitive figure skaters and supports hundreds of people to learn to skate every month.

Many of these activities have large waiting lists of people who would like to participate but are not currently able to.

As well as providing opportunities for physical activity, Lee Valley Ice Centre is also a space for young people to meet and socialise.

The ice disco, which operates every Saturday night is exceptionally popular, attracting hundreds of young people each week.

To ensure people continue to have access to this community hub and to respond to the increasing demand for ice time, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) is proposing a new ice centre with two ice rinks.

The new centre, which would cost around £30 million, would double the amount of ice 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 Leyton Marsh and other award winning areas of Lee Valley Regional Park.

The inclusion of a café and community spaces would open up the centre to all visitors to the area, providing a setting off point for walkers, runners and cyclists.

The surrounding landscape would be transformed, replacing areas devoid of ecological value with significant native planting.

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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.

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is committed to providing the majority of the investment and is working with other partners to secure the rest of the funding required.

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority chief executive Shaun Dawson said: "We know how vital ice sport and the opportunity for leisure and physical activity are in this part of London.

"Lee Valley Ice Centre is hugely popular, open up to 19 hours a day, seven days a week - but recent operational problems have shown that it's reaching the end of its working life and if it's not replaced, it will be lost.

"We're proposing a fantastic new ice centre which would also act as a gateway to the surrounding open space. It would be the only twin Olympic-sized venue in south east England and 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 community, across the capital and from the wider region.

"We now want people to have their say on our plans, so we can create a centre that everyone can be proud of and enjoy."

Richard Arnold, Managing Director of Wrenbridge Sport, the lead consultant on the project, commented: "The proposed new ice centre will add to Lee Valley Regional Park Authority's world class sporting facilities, which already include Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley White Water Centre, both of which were key venues for the London 2012 Olympics.

"We are delighted to be working with Lee Valley Regional Park Authority on this exciting project and we have put together an outstanding team of leading specialists from the built environment, sport and ice sectors in order to deliver what we believe will be a fantastic asset for London and the wider sport community."

Carlos, 17 years old, a regular skater at the ice centre commented: "Lee Valley Ice Centre has been a massive part of my life for the past 14 years.

"Whether it's been skating or volunteering, I've always felt part of the community at the centre.

"It's also important for the community - there are a lot of clubs that use the ice centre.

"It's got something for everyone, from aged 1 to 100! It's just something different for people of all ages to do.

"The centre is amazing but we could do with more space and better facilities for competitions and other events."

The consultation will be open until Sunday, September, 1.

Members of the public are invited to have their say on the plans by visiting the website, www.icecentreredevelopment.com.

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