The festive season may be more than nine months away but business leaders have already put one item at the top of their Christmas list.
Early discussions are ongoing between event bosses and Maidstone Borough Council to bring an ice rink to Mote Park later this year.
The prospect has been mooted for some time, but hasn’t materialised, with skaters instead having to travel to other venues in Kings Hill, Gillingham or Tunbridge Wells.
A previous survey of 1,138 visitors to the park found more than two-thirds of respondents would be very or fairly likely to use a seasonal ice rink.
The proposal received more positive feedback than the other ideas featured in the study, including crazy golf, high wires and segways.
An online petition calling for Maidstone to be given a rink was also launched back in 2014, with campaigners claiming the 11-mile journey to Medway “just seems too far and too much hassle for a few hours of skating”.
A rink was briefly available to visitors at the Winter Wonderland event space at Aylesford last Christmas as part of Maidstone Pantomime.
However, performances of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were suddenly cancelled and the whole venue swiftly shut down as bosses struggled to balance the books, off the back of difficult weather in November.
Now the idea of having an ice rink in the heart of the County Town has again been brought back to life following a recent discussion at a meeting of OneMaidstone’s marketing group, which is leading efforts to make the town centre a Business Improvement District.
A council spokesman said: “Maidstone has developed a reputation for hosting very successful events and festivals, including the Kent County Show, Proms in the Park and the Hops ‘n’ Harvest Beer Festival.
“However, some events are still in the early planning stages and MBC is holding discussions with a number of event organisers to explore multiple options in Mote Park.”
The meeting, at Maidstone Town Hall, also revealed that Whatman Park bosses have applied for a licence to sell alcohol at this summer’s Proms in the Park.
The council had planned to bring the concert to an end in 2018, but developers Weston Homes made an offer to help with funding in December, which was hailed as “a great Christmas present for Maidstone.”
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