Wed, 03 Oct 2018
AN ICE rink to train elite ice athletes will be opening in Thatcham after West Berkshire planners gave the facility the green light.
The members-only training centre at Unit 2 Pipers Court will be used to coach aspiring competitors in sports such as ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating and sledge hockey.
Although the facility is members-only, applicant XO Training Ltd has indicated that there will be scope for school groups to attend and for clubs to run during school holidays.
XO Training said that Pipers Court was the only suitable site providing the floor area and sufficient car parking (27 spaces) in an accessible location.
The facility, within a protected employment area, will employ 20 staff split between 10 full-time and 10 part-time roles.
Approving the plans, West Berkshire Council said that, although the centre would result in the loss of office space, the loss would be “outweighed by the provision of a sports facility for training purposes, and provides social benefits”.
The centre will feature a real ice training pad, a synthetic speed skating pad and an off-ice training area.
XO said that there were limited facilities for ice sports training in UK, adding that the closest public rinks are in Swindon and Basingstoke.
The site had been used as a workshop/storage space and offices, but the company has outgrown the premises and vacated.