Bury St Edmunds ice rink survives mild weather

The Ice Rink in the Arc shopping centre in Bury.

The Ice Rink in the Arc shopping centre in Bury. - Credit: Archant

Bury St Edmunds’ ice rink looks set to continue thriving despite the unseasonably warm weather.

Ourburystedmunds boss Mark Cordell, who brought the facility to the town, said he was sorry to hear about the much-publicised Winter Wonderland, in Colchester, which went into administration just before Christmas because the mild weather left the ice rink unusable.

He said: “When we discussed having an ice rink at the beginning of the year we took into consideration bad weather, but never ever imagined that the biggest issue would be the warmth.”

Since it opened on December 5, more than 6,000 people have bought tickets for the Bury rink, with Mr Cordell putting its survival down to the fact it is protected from the elements in the Arc shopping centre.

“I think we’ve benefitted this year with the sheltered location and certainly with Debenhams and the gallopers deflecting some of the wind. The wind is the biggest issue. It takes off the top surface.”

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Fortunately for hundreds of people hoping to get some skating in before the last day on January 3, permanent closure of the 200sqm rink is looking very unlikely.

“Yes, it’s been unseasonably mild but we’ve got a very dedicated ice rink manager. He’s determined as long as it’s possible and it’s safe to keep the ice rink open,” Mr Cordell said.

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Like Colchester’s ice rink, the company providing the attraction is Cousins Entertainment. While Reflective Ice Ltd, which ran Colchester’s Winter Wonderland in Castle Park, was a profit-making business, Mr Cordell believes the fact Bury’s rink is being run as a not-for-profit enterprise has played to its advantage.

While he would not disclose how much the rink was costing in total, he did say the funding was being underwritten by the BID, which also secured contributions from other bodies including £3,000 from Bury Town Council.

He added: “It’s the first time that the BID has held an event where they have charged a fee because our other events are free. The cost of this was such it couldn’t be delivered without charging the public.

“We were genuinely very sad to hear of the demise of the Colchester rink. We knew how much work that must have taken to set that up. But we would welcome anyone living in that area who is unable to skate to come to Bury St Edmunds.” For tickets, call the Apex on 01284 758000.

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