Work is finally set to start on a permanent indoor ice rink next to Leeds United’s Elland Road ground, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.
Construction of the long-awaited addition to the city’s sporting and entertainment scene was at one stage expected to begin last year.
Until recently, however, there has been little sign of activity at the site, which lies between the Elland Road park-and-ride facility and the railway line to the west of the football stadium.
Yesterday the firm behind the scheme, the Staffordshire-based Ice Rink Company, revealed the hold-up was caused by a number of ground condition problems, including the need to cap an old mineshaft.
But managing director Mark Johnson stressed the issues had now been resolved and said he hoped construction would start in January.
Mr Johnson said that once work on the building was under way, the job could be finished in just 30 weeks.
He added: “With any project like this, the biggest issue is the ground conditions.
“Once they are sorted out, then things can really begin to fly.”
After thanking bosses at Leeds City Council for the support they had shown the scheme, Mr Johnson said the size of the rink – which will operate under the firm’s Silver Blades brand – had been increased from 1,000 to 1,500 seats.
The bulk of its schedule will be made up of public skating sessions while it could also be home to an ice hockey team.
A council report on the decision to grant the Silver Blades scheme planning permission said: “The provision of this facility not only boosts the offer that Leeds as a city can make, but also enhances the provision in the West Yorkshire region, providing additional facilities to those already on offer in Bradford.”
The market for skating in Leeds has been underlined by the popularity of the city’s Ice Cube, an outdoor rink that takes up temporary residence each winter in Millennium Square.