Ice skating looks set to return to Priory Park in December.
More than 19,000 people took to the ice in 2018 and Chichester District Council has laid out a proposal to allow the temporary rink to return.
But not everyone was filled with festive joy at the idea.
During a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (January 9), the Reverend Canon Bruce Ruddock, chairman of the Priory Park Society, asked whether another site could be chosen.
Mr Ruddock said that allowing the rink to set up in the park had been ‘seriously problematic’ for a number of reasons and ‘left deep wounds in the memory of the community around the park’.
He wondered whether it could be moved somewhere further away from people’s homes and ‘where the environment is less sensitive to damage’.
But the idea of setting up the rink in Priory Park has been included on the list of project proposals for 2024/25 in the council’s corporate plan.
The meeting was told that changing the location would mean the proposal would have to be removed from the list and looked at again.
Jane Hotchkiss, director of growth & place, said: “We have in the past considered all the alternative locations for a possible ice rink and we’re trying to bear that in mind and measure up the importance of having the ice rink close to the city centre to ensure the footfall in the city centre.”
The corporate plan and its list of project proposals will be put to the next meeting of the full council for approval.
But there was support from cabinet members for the ice rink to return to the park.
Harsha Desai (Lib Dem, Petworth) said the city centre had ‘looked pretty dead’ over the festive period and an ice rink would have been welcomed.
David Betts (Lib Dem, North Mundham & Tangmere) spoke about archaeological digs which had taken place in the park in the past, adding that grass was ‘very resilient’ and would grow back once the rink was gone.
Jess Brown-Fuller, cabinet member for culture & events, told the meeting that there had been around 40 complaints from nine people about the rink in 2018.
She added: “A number of lessons were learned from the previous ice skating event that will be considered as part of the planning for any future event.
“The planning officers consider that, should a future planning application be made, that a lower marquee should be explored with the applicant and, if a fence is required, then a lower, more attractive enclosure should be provided to allow views in and out of the attraction because the closed-board temporary fence resulted in a very hard and urban edge to the development.
“Greater consideration should be given to the design of the noise mitigation measures so these are less visually dominant.”