Ice rink makes final visit to Hastings this Christmas

Hastings Ice Rink
Hastings Ice Rink

A POPULAR festive ice rink will be set up in Hastings town centre for the last time this Christmas after running at a loss for the last two years.

The Dutch firm The Ice Company will erect the rink in Queen Square for the last time next month.

Since it first opened in 2009 the rink has been operating at a loss and Priory Meadow Shopping Centre says it can no longer afford to foot the bill.

Hastings Borough Council provided an initial £50,000 but the Centre management claims it costs £100,000 to run the rink for six weeks over the festive period.

In 2009 a total of 14,000 people used the rink and last year it attracted 11,000 visitors partly down to the harsh winter weather which affected attendances. In the first year the rink operated at a £60,000 loss and last year it was £65,000 down.

The initial project was due to run for three years and funding was a joint venture between Priory Meadow Hastings Ltd and shopping centre retailers.

Centre manager John Hough said: “We ran the rink at a loss but it was done as a gesture of customer loyalty.

“We wanted to have it as part of the festive spirit and give something back to our loyal customers and traders over the years.”

Rob Wood, town centre manager, said the rink would be missed.

Mr Wood said: “It will be a loss to the town because anything that helps boost visitor numbers at Christmas time is always much appreciated by traders.

“There is a lot of competition from other towns for Christmas trade and the ice rink was quite a big draw.

“There will need to be some kind of replacement.”

The rink will be open from November 26 and run until January 3.