MOVE over Torvill and Dean – Huddersfield really has been skating on ice this year.
Some 14,012 visits saw people lace up their boots and take to the ice on the Piazza this season – a 6% increase on last year’s figures.
The day before New Year’s Eve proved to be the most popular day to get sliding in the town centre – with 777 sessions with skaters paying between £3 – £6 for a go.
The penguin skating aids also proved a hit with the children and were taken on the rink 1,053 times.
Huddersfield On Ice was so popular that it stayed open for an extra day due to such demand.
However, despite the rink’s popularity Keith Horton, chief executive of the National Ice Skating Association, said it wasn’t financially viable for Huddersfield to have its own permanent ice rink.
He told the Examiner: “Local authorities used to build and maintain the permanent ice rinks and leisure facilities but now they run fewer and fewer so we are very reliant on the private sector.
“If you look towards Sheffield, where they have a rink, it cost £15m to build privately so you’d have to sell a lot of £5 tickets to recoup your investment.
“So in terms of a permanent rink in Huddersfield I don’t think it would be viable because you need a certain population in the catchment area – and there are already permanent rinks in nearby Sheffield and Bradford.”
The Piazza rink cost Kirklees Council £150,000 to set up temporarily for one month and they anticipate to recoup only a third of the money. But they backed the investment to draw families into the town centre, where they could use shops and bars.
Mr Horton said: “But a temporary ice rink is still fantastic because it gives people the opportunity to try skating and if they like it they can travel to Bradford or Sheffield for lessons.