Norfolk's only permanent ice rink unexpectedly re-opened today, two weeks after its shock closure by bailiffs.
The Ice Experience in Hellesdon, Norwich, had been shut since February 25 when disappointed skaters turned up to find a solicitors' letter pasted on the locked doors the day after its owners reassured them it would stay open.
Skaters welcomed the sudden re-opening under the same management, including members of Norfolk's only ice hockey team Norwich North Stars.
But the team's coach Mason Jerome said members would continue with the petition they started to safeguard the rink's future as they were concerned it could be vulnerable to closure again.
Mr Jerome said: “We're delighted. Everyone is very excited because it means we can have a team again. It is a shame it had to happen in the first place and we are worried it might happen again so we are going to be in Norwich at the weekend with our petition to try and get support from the councils.”
Kerri Parker, a model from Norwich who has been working up through the grades in her figure skating training, said: “It's great news, it means I can get my gold award through the National Ice Skating Association.
“I couldn't keep going to Peterborough, and it was booked up anyway.”
The 35m by 20m rink, which has a capacity of 450, was opened in October 2006 at a cost of £1m.
It was built on part of the site previously occupied by the Norwich Sports Village, which was opened in 1988 by Broadland District Council and run by officers for 15 years before its closure in 2003.
But it was sold on to the private sector when it was found to be in need of millions of pounds of repairs.
Another part of it became the Norfolk Health and Racquets Club, which is unconnected to the rink and owned by Esporta.
A spokesman from Esporta said the club was operating as a successful and profitable business.
The day before the rink shut our sister paper the Evening News reported that while owners Trevor Watts and Jonathan Gray admitted the business was struggling, they denied rumours it was on the verge of closure.
A letter from Ellis Taylor Solicitors taped to the building's door on the day of its closure stated their “client” had taken possession of the property.
But the rink is now under the management of Mr Watts and Mr Gray again. Neither were available for comment today.
Article originally featured on http://new.edp24.co.uk
Last Updated: 16th March 2009 10:51am