Frogmore Street ice rink scheme likely to get planning permission
A CONTROVERSIAL scheme which will see Bristol's popular ice rink demolished to make way for a new set of flats is likely to be given planing permission next week.
Councillors are meeting on Wednesday to decide whether the scheme to demolish the ice rink on Frogmore Street and replace it with new students flats should go ahead.
And planning officials on the city council are recommending that the multi-million project - which has been put together by Bristol based firm Unite - should be granted planning permission.
Unite announced it was closing the ice rink at the start of the year because it was no longer financially viable. And the firm has pressed ahead with plans despite the protests of various groups including figure skaters, customers and the Bristol ice hockey team the Pitbulls.
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Dozens of people wrote to the city council to oppose the planning application but it appears Unite will be given permission to press ahead with the project.
The ground floor of the building, which houses the O2 Academy concert venue will stay in tact but the rest of the concrete building is being demolished.
The concert venue would stay open throughout the creation of the eight storey building which will house 448 student flats.
According to the council's planning team even though the ice rink will be a loss to the community a report found it was no longer viable.
A report found: "The principle of student accommodation at this site is acceptable and does not conflict with the development plan and would provide a sustainable, location for students to reside at, particularly for those attending the University of Bristol.
Unite has also said that it hopes to improve the area around the building and make it more accessible to the public.
The rink closed its doors for the last time in October and work has already began on dismantling the facilities ahead of the demolition.
The ice rink played a vital role in putting Olympic gold medallist Robin Cousins on the road to success will be sorely missed by the current generation of young skaters who enjoy sessions on the ice – as well as their parents.
Mr Cousins grew up in Sea Mills and started learning to skate as soon as the rink opened. His career highlight came 14 years later when he won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in New York.
The complex originally boasted a ballroom, nightclub, bingo hall, banqueting rooms and amusement arcade but most of the centre closed down in the early 1990s.
At the time a successful campaign was launched to save the ice rink and entrepreneur John Nike stepped in to take on the business.
The nearest facility to Bristol is Swindon but users have also been travelling to Cardiff.
The building first opened 45 years ago and was part of the Bristol Entertainment Complex. Unite has owned the rink for ten years and plans to develop the Frogmore Street building into student flats.