Construction has started on the new Lee Valley Ice Centre in east London, which will be home to Lee Valley Lions.
Local politicians and other stakeholders gathered at the site for the ground-breaking for the new community hub, which is due to open in October 2022.
The event saw the unveiling of hoardings with a new community artwork designed by local schoolchildren and the start of the demolition of the current venue, which couldn’t meet growing demand and had reached the end of its operational life after 37 years.
The new £30m regional centre is being built and funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, responsible for the 26 mile long, 10,000 acre Lee Valley Regional Park which attracted more than 10m visits last year.
It is being constructed on the site of the old venue in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton and will be one of only three Olympic-sized twin rinks in the UK and the only venue of its kind in the southeast.
Both rinks will be larger than the one in the original venue doubling capacity to attract over 500,000 people a year.
Cllr Grace Williams, Leader Elect at the London Borough of Waltham Forest, said: “One of our top priorities is to bring more chances for young people in our area to be able to exercise, relax, and train in top-class facilities. This project will increase the capacity of Lee Valley Ice Centre, allowing for even more people to get involved, and will also deliver employment and apprenticeship opportunities for local residents.
“I am delighted that construction work has begun and I can’t wait to enjoy the new centre when it opens. Who knows, the Team GB Olympic ice stars of tomorrow could get their start here – it’s a really exciting opportunity for Waltham Forest.”
The development will create 45 new jobs and boost the local economy by £1.5m a year.