THE ‘lacklustre’ and little-used ice rink which made a loss of more than £1,600 in its first outing is to return to Burton this Christmas.
East Staffordshire Borough Council will bring back the attraction as part of its festive celebrations, despite the fact it was widely criticised and little used last year, with just 1,073 people paying to use the £41,000 rink during the three months it was open.
Councillors have promised the skating rink, which cost £14,000 more than anticipated, will be an improvement on last year’s offering, with more space, better lighting and an improved pricing system.
Councillor Liz Staples said changes had been made following a public consultation on what people would like to see in the run up to the festive season.
She added: “The feedback received showed us that people really want to see something exciting in the Town Centre in the run up to Christmas. Whilst I acknowledge that last year the skating rink may have disappointed people the response we received was that it wasn’t big or attractive enough.”
The attraction made a loss of almost £1,700 last year, as the number of paying customers was low. More than a third of those who used the rink had been given free tickets.
The rink, which is made of artificial ice, has been extended this year, and a Christmas tree has been added to make it look more festive. Ticket prices have also been reduced.
Councillor Julian Mott, leader of the authority’s Labour group, said he thought the council should cuts its losses with the beleaguered attraction.
“The skating rink had no ice but a black hole where money kept disappearing. It was poor value for money and has not succeeded in bringing more people into the town,”
But town centre manager Paul Howard said he thought it would ‘add a little something extra’ to the town.
“Anything that attracts new people into our town centre during this important trading time will be most welcome,” he added.