Karen Koren: New ice rink plans will get a frosty reception

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THE headlines in the Evening News last week announced that the ice rink will be moving to George Street for the Christmas period.

Far be it for me to comment, but I feel obligated to say something. I created the original outdoor ice rink - the very first in the United Kingdom.

It was situated in East Princes Street Gardens from 1997, a location that proved to be a great place for an ice rink, with the ever impressive backdrop of the Castle.

Visitors and locals alike enjoyed the ambience and the beauty that Edinburgh had to offer.

For 12 years the rink continued to be enjoyed by many, even though, for various reasons, the last few years have been controversial, with more fun fair rides than ever before in the famous park.

Christmas and Hogmanay is a time to be enjoyed and I think Edinburgh has given great offerings in the past. However, moving the rink from an open space with lovely views, into the middle of shopping and partying area is commercial suicide.

This is, of course, only my view, and I agree that there have to be changes - without them there cannot be new consumers.

The ice rink that we offered was then the biggest in the country, 20 metres by 40 metres. I would question if George Street has room for a large ice rink. I would also ask whether people would want to be in such a confined space - there won’t be much room available to watch the skaters enjoying themselves.

Then there are the businesses who would prefer to have shoppers in George Street rather than skaters. There was a reason that the ice rink was in the park, and while I agree that it was not ideal that it had to be on grass, the question now is, what are the organisers going to put in its place. Are East Princes Street Gardens finally to become the big fairground that it has been so close to becoming over the last few years?

Whatever the new Christmas and Hogmanay organisers and the City Council decide upon, I really hope that they give due consideration to all the visitors and locals that have enjoyed the season up until now.