Popular Aylesbury ice rink saved as committee overturns planning officer refusal

Over 1,000 residents supported the application
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Aylesbury’s popular ice rink venue is set to re-open this Christmas, after a report suggesting it should be refused, was overturned by councillors.

At a planning committee meeting yesterday afternoon (16 August), officials voted 9-2 in favour of allowing Chiltern View Garden Centre to run an ice rink this winter.

The venue in on the Wendover Road will be transformed into a winter wonderland, provided it can meet seven requirements queried by planning officials yesterday.

Families at the ice rink's launch event last winter, Photo from Rebecca Fennell photographyFamilies at the ice rink's launch event last winter, Photo from Rebecca Fennell photography
Families at the ice rink's launch event last winter, Photo from Rebecca Fennell photography

Bucks Council’s planning officers recommended refusal on the application, but the decision was overturned after a two-hour meeting.

For the past two years the garden centre has been transformed into one of Aylesbury’s most-popular winter attractions.

It is widely-considered the only ice rink in the vale, with the nearest specialist venue located in Milton Keynes.

Planning inspectors were concerned about outstanding enforcement notices issued to the company in Stoke Mandeville. Although all outstanding notices have been appealed by the Aylesbury business.

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A particular concern raised by the planning team regarded use of an unauthorised car park on the site in the past.

It was believed that without use of the car park, there could be the potential for an overflow of vehicles, affecting traffic along Wendover Road.

However, multiple councillors mentioned the fact that in previous years no traffic issues had been reported by the site when the rink was open. There was also confusion during the meeting regarding whether the notices were relevant to the current application.

Highways England did back up the refusal suggestion, but only after being informed by planning officers that the unauthorised planning site could not be taken into consideration when assessing the application.

Councillor Julie Ward called in the application to be reviewed by a committee fearing it would be rejected. Other Aylesbury politicians echoed her sentiments in wanting the application to be reviewed.

Visitors who had skated on the site in previous years were encouraged to support Chiltern View and the application received over 1,000 votes of approval and just one vote against the project.

As well as being a big money-spinner for the town, owners were keen to state that many charities are supported by the funds raised from the business, and thousands of disabled residents are invited to the venue free of charge.