Popular Aylesbury ice rink's return in jeopardy as planning officer recommends refusal
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The future of a popular winter attraction in Aylesbury is in jeopardy as a planning officer has concluded the project should be refused.
Chiltern View Garden Centre’s application to once again open an ice rink in Aylesbury could be rejected this afternoon (16 August).
This afternoon, the planning committee will decide the rink’s fate at a council meeting.
For the past two years the ice rink, located next to the garden centre off the Wendover Road, has offered a seasonal treat for thousands of residents in the Vale. But an inspector has found issues with the parking situation outlined in this year’s application.
A planning officer believes that for the ice rink to return this year staff would have to stock equipment and products associated with the ice rink in unauthorised areas.
In the report sent to the planning committee which will make the final call on whether the rink gets approved, it references ‘enforcement notices’ sent to Chiltern View in regards to how the site was used.
These notices have been appealed by the garden centre which runs the ice rink.
However, the planning officer’s decision was called in by councillors who disagreed with the conclusions reached in the report, setting up this afternoon’s meeting.
Three Aylesbury-based councillors called in the decision, noting the popularity of the ice rink, but also ongoing charity fundraisers held at the site during the winter festivities.
Another councillor outside of the town and its surrounding villages also supported the local politicians, stating that the nearest publicly-available ice rink is in Milton Keynes.
Whilst use of an unauthorised car park was mentioned by the officer, the councillors’ believe that the site causes minimal disruption to locals and has a big enough authorised parking site.
Another reason the officer’s refusal was called in, according to Bucks Council documentation, was the popularity of the rink.
On the application, which can be viewed in full on the local authority’s website. Hundreds of residents have supported the rink’s return and complaints can scarcely be found among the 1,000-plus comments on the application. A recent tally from the local authority listed 1,086 messages of resident support.
Highways England is the only consultee that has recommended refusal. Initially, the Government agency had recommended approval of the site, due to additional available parking on the site, that was not laid out in the initial documents sent for approval by Chiltern View.
But Highways England said: “Following further discussions with the planning officer we have been advised that the in-situ parking should not be considered as viable, lawful parking for the site as proposed.”
Environmental harm was listed as a further reason for refusal, with the officer stating that the social and economic benefits Aylesbury would receive, were too short term to outweigh potential harm.
However, Environmental Health did not provide any comments suggesting the Stoke Mandeville would be negatively impacted.
Councillor Julie Ward, who first called in the application to go before a committee said: “In balance, it appears to me that the benefits of the application outweigh any potential for harm.”