Parkland left devastated by ice-rink damage
A PARKLAND meadow has been turned into a brown quagmire after a temporary ice rink was installed on it during the winter and there are concerns it will not recover. St Albans District Council agreed that the ice rink could be placed on the field opposite
A PARKLAND meadow has been turned into a brown quagmire after a temporary ice rink was installed on it during the winter and there are concerns it will not recover.
St Albans District Council agreed that the ice rink could be placed on the field opposite Westminster Lodge swimming pool during December and January.
But grass on the field has not revived since the rink was dismantled more than two months ago.
Council contractors began restoring the field but the land has become logged with water that is not draining away and it has had to be fenced off to protect the ground.
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The council will have to pay £2,000 in repairs, after agreeing to restore the field after the event, while Cousins Entertainment, who saw 20,000 people use their rink, was allowed to use the land for free.
Verulam Ward councillor Irene Willcocks went to see the meadow after the problem was reported to her.
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She took advice from a grounds maintenance company who told her it could not be resolved by simply reseeding the grass, and it would take a lot work to restore it to its former condition.
Cllr Willcocks expressed concern that the Zippo State Circus was due to go onto the land on Monday and the council was planning to allow an ice rink to be placed there again in the winter.
Though the rink was popular and well used, Cllr Willcocks said its benefits could be outweighed by the cost of restoring the land.
And she felt that council had been foolish in not getting Cousins Entertainment, which ran the rink, to pay a retainer returnable only if the land was left in good condition.
She added: "Maybe it is time that serious thought is given to the fact that there is possible overuse of the area for events and some are just not suitable, before irreparable damage is caused to the meadow."
But Cllr Sheila Burton, portofolio holder for sport and healthy living, maintained that the grass would recover during the summer months.
She said: "It is not damaged at all. It's been very wet and we are waiting for the grass to recover. And I don't think Zippo circus will put up on the same piece of land - it's not suitable for this year."
She added that the rink would be put on the same bit of land this winter, but it would be moved nearer to the main road to make sure it was more prominent.
Though the council made no money from last winter's ice rink, it had been a test run and this year they had three different companies from which to choose and would be looking to make a profit.
A spokesman for St Albans District Council said repairs to the field would continue when the weather permitted and when the ground condition improved - probably during April and early May.