Burnham-On-Sea town councillors last night (Monday) confirmed that a £16,000 grant will be given to a community project to bring a temporary skating rink to the town this Christmas.
At a meeeting of the full Town Council, members gave their backing to the project from community group BEST (Burnham Events Social Team) to bring an artificial ice rink to Burnham’s town centre as an attraction over the festive period.
The ice rink will be set-up in the Lynton Road Car Park, right, and be open for three weeks from December 12th to January 2nd.
Cllr Martin Cox said: “I have seen how many people use the Cribbs Causeway ice rink in Bristol and think it will be a success here in Burnham too. I’m happy to support it and hope the self-funding aspect of the project means it goes ahead in future years too.”
Cllr Louise Parkin added: “The ice rink will be held over three weeks – not just one day like many recent events. I think it provides very good value and will directly benefit our traders and residents.”
Responding to concerns about the grant from a Burnham resident, Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton said the £16,000 would be taken from earmarked reserves left over from last year’s budget and would “not mean the council would have to raise council tax bills to pay for it.”
Cllr Bill Hancock said: “I would have been happier with a 50/50 grant split given the big amount involved, but I’m pleased that any money raised will go back into organising it for future years.”
Cllr Phil Harvey added: “I think this is a risky venture for the Town Council to get involved in. I’m concerned by the amount of the grant we’re being asked to provide – the full project cost.”
Cllr David Hoggarth said: “I still have reservations – this is a lot of money to justify – but I will give my help to the event.”
Councillors voted to award the £16,000 grant to the organisers, with Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton and Cllr John Parkes joining the organising committee to provide independent scrutiny. A full report will also be presented to the Town Council in February 2016 on how the ice rink performed.
The rink is made of artificial or synthetic ice which the manufacturers Ice Magic say is like real ice except it doesn’t melt and in all aspects has the same properties of ice albeit with a lubricant that is used to keep the surface slippery. Ordinary ice skates can be used and the surface allows for all the potential stops, turns, twirls and other gymnastics associated with the sport.