Mansfield District Council responds to ice rink criticisms

Mansfield District Council has defended its decision to install the ice rink, saying it was worth spending the money to improve the town centre.
Mansfield District Council has defended its decision to install the ice rink, saying it was worth spending the money to improve the town centre.

The authority came under fire after their ‘winter wonderland’ ice rink on Market Place lost them a net cost of more than £80,000.

At a meeting of the full council at Mansfield District Council in January, Labour members challenged executive mayor Kate Allsop to break down the costs of the ice rink and whether she thought it was “value for money”.

It was revealed that ice rink cost £137,062 for the 31 days it was in place in the town centre, with the council receiving a total of £19,954 in sponsorship from One Call Insurance, Four Seasons and other organisations towards the rink itself.

The attraction made £25,527 in ticket sales and reportedly increased car parking receipts by four per cent, or £8,000, with about 7,000 more people visiting the town centre during Christmas than 2017.

The decision to install the ice rick was criticised as being a 'vanity project' by councillor Andy Wetton, Labour member for Meden.

Mansfield District Council has defended its decision to install the ice rink, saying it was worth spending the money to improve the town centre.

READ MORE: Here’s how much the Christmas ice rink cost Mansfield District Council

Mayor Kate Allsop said “We knew that our first ice rink would incur an overall cost to the council but it was money worth spending to improve the town
centre offer and to give people more reasons to visit Mansfield”.
"The council also added gave funding to the BID to bring the German-style market to town.
"The ice rink was warmly welcomed by the business community who provided nearly £20,000 of sponsorship with One Call insurance securing naming rights.
"Over 4,700 skaters took to the ice and nearly 7,000 more visitors came to Mansfield during Christmas 2018 than during the same shopping period in 2017.

"There was an increase in car parking revenue of some £8,000.

"The campaign to promote Mansfield as a Christmas destination also reached more than a quarter of a million people online.
Mayor Allsop said, “The cost of Christmas in Mansfield 2018 equates to around £1.26 per head of population and showed that Mansfield has much to offer visitors during the festive season.”
"We are evaluating what visitors thought to Christmas in Mansfield, the survey closes on 31 January it can be found at www.mansfield.gov.uk/Christmas.
The council will continue to explore options on how to support businesses and evolve its place shaping agenda and to provide an enjoyable leisure experience for
visitors."

READ MORE:

As spokeswoman for the council said: "Last Christmas Mansfield hosted its first outdoor ice rink in the Market Place to further enhance the festive offer for residents, businesses and visitors.
"It built on the success of previous Big Switch On events, and a steady programme of event hosting aimed at raising the profile of the district.
"Mansfield District Council has an ambition for place shaping and events have a key role in putting the town the on the map - opportunities such as the Tour of Britain and
hosting the Mansfield 10k bring a positive spotlight on the district.
"The proposal for an outdoor rink was presented to the Portfolio Holder for Finance in August 2018 which clearly set out the businesses case for the project.

"The report identified the benefits and losses that the council could expect to face, based upon usage rates of the rink.

"The decision was supported and the matter resolved with a motion to the Full Council in September 2018."