Rink is back from the brink and raring to go

Ice-skating is to re-open at Jarman Fields. Three of the managers, from left, Kerstin Engren, Debbie Bayliss and John Neville
Ice-skating is to re-open at Jarman Fields. Three of the managers, from left, Kerstin Engren, Debbie Bayliss and John Neville

The county’s only ice rink which was saved from the brink of closure by a public campaign is soon to welcome skaters back after a revamp.

Planet Ice at the newly-developed Jarman Fields leisure complex will be re-opening its rink next Friday, February 20.

Skating is to re-open at Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead.'Three of the managers, from left, Kerstin Engren, Debbie Bayliss and John Neville. PNL-151002-121443009

Skating is to re-open at Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead.'Three of the managers, from left, Kerstin Engren, Debbie Bayliss and John Neville. PNL-151002-121443009

The future of the sport and leisure facility hung in the balance as the former Leisure World site was purchased by the Tesco Pensions Fund for the renovation, which now features an array of restaurants and is soon to welcome a gym and Hungry Horse pub.

The £8.5million deal with previous site owners Capital and Regional last year eventually resulted in the ice rink – which had been earmarked for closure – remaining part of the complex, with a £800,000 refurbishment to boot.

The decision came about after a successful campaign by skating staff and the community and the lobbying of Dacorum Borough Council for their support.

The doors closed in early October for the refit, but the rink is now in the final stages of redevelopment and Planet Ice are getting prepared for a bumper opening weekend with a public skating session starting from 7pm.

Managing Director John Neville said: “We are really pleased to remain in Hemel Hempstead servicing what will be a great sporting and recreational asset to the community.

“We would like to thank the local community, Tesco Pensions Fund, and Dacorum Borough Council for keeping ice skating in the Hertfordshire region.

“The rink will stay very much with its original layout, and already leading skate provider KCO are making arrangements to launch their new Skate Excellence Learn to Skate course from February 28 in the rink.

“We aim to offer the community a full range of ice skating products and services from parent and toddler, birthday party packages for all ages, learn to skate courses, and of course special disco and party night sessions for the young and young at heart.

“We are expecting the opening weekend to be incredibly busy so please get there early to avoid disappointment.”

To find out more about the opening weekend, and book Learn to Skate courses and much more, visit www.planet-ice.co.uk.