RESIDENTS have been urged to support a petition to take Bognor Regis back to the ice age.
The success of the Christmas ice rink on the town’s seafront has led Bognor Regis Civic Society to launch the petition to call for a permanent rink to be built.
The petition was announced by the society’s deputy chairman, Hugh Coster, at its meeting on Tuesday.
He said: “People have called for an ice rink in this town for many years. It was obvious from the popularity of the temporary rink at Christmas how well used a permanent rink would be.
“It was fantastic seeing all the smiling faces of all ages in the rink over Christmas. The petition does not seek the rink necessarily on the same site of the Place St Maur.
“But it is asking Arun District Council to consider including a rink in its regeneration proposals for the future.”
The petition states: “In view of the tremendous success of the Christmas temporary ice rink, we, the undersigned, petition Arun District Council to incorporate a permanent, quality ice rink, possibly multi-use, into the Bognor Regis regeneration plans currently under consideration.”
The petition is being distributed by the civic society in the next few days. It is set to be available to sign at the Picturedrome cinema and other independent businesses. Mr Coster said it would remain open until 1,500 signatures was reached.
“The petition has been a paper one because Arun will not accept online petitions,” he said.
The civic society has staged several petitions in the past 20 years. Some have exceeded 10,000 signatures.
Mr Coster said that level of support, while welcome, was unnecessary for the latest one.
“We need 1,500 signatures for Arun to have to discuss our petition. It will not compel them to include an ice rink but they will have to debate it,” he said.
“By making the facility multi-use, it will overcome the expense of opening an ice rink in the summer.”
Calls for an ice rink in Bognor Regis date back at least 30 years when a company called Penhale wanted to build one. But the scheme failed to get approval and faded away.
More recent regeneration efforts have seen the idea of an ice rink raised again without any success.
But the six-week success of the Ice Skating on the Prom attraction on the Place St Maur saw the town’s first covered ice rink attract thousands of skaters of all ages. The managers of the attraction told the Post last month they wanted to return bigger and better later this year.
Kara Cole, who ran the attraction with her husband, James, said: “I would definitely come back to Bognor Regis…the community have been amazing.”
Arun’s regeneration ideas such as the Hothamton linear park were criticised at the meeting by several people, including Mr Coster.