Key milestone reached on new Lee Valley ice centre in London

The main structure of the new Lee Valley Ice Centre, the South East’s first ever Olympic-sized twin-pad ice venue, has been completed.

Representing an investment of £30 million, the elegant new centre on Lea Bridge Road, Leyton will bring skating and other leisure opportunities to more than half a million people a year.

Last week, a Topping Out event was held to mark the completion of the main structure of the venue which, in addition to the two ice rinks side by side, will include a gym, café, dance studio, community spaces and be accompanied by significant environmental improvements.

The centre is being built and funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, which is responsible for the 26 mile long, 10,000 acre Lee Valley Regional Park, with £1m of support from the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The milestone was marked with the signing of a commemorative plaque by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s Chief Executive Shaun Dawson; Cllr Ahsan Khan, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest; local ice skating coach Dannii Goldie; and Angel Donkor and Beyza Yildirim, two Lee Valley Ice Centre Young Ambassadors – part of a group of students from nearby Lammas School learning about the construction industry through this project.

The centre replaces the old Lee Valley Ice Centre on the same site. This opened in 1984 and before it closed for redevelopment last year, was used by 279,000 people a year. The new rinks will be even larger doubling the capacity to attract over 500,000 people a year. Today’s event was attended by people who skated at the old venue in each decade since it opened, providing them their first opportunity to see the new facility.

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of LVRPA, said: “Incredible progress has been made on the new Lee Valley Ice Centre. Our ambition is for an inspirational venue bringing world class facilities to communities in east London and across the region, aiding physical and mental wellbeing.

“The much loved old centre had reached the end of its operational life and could no longer cope with the high demand. But it lives on: we reused 95% of the concrete – 950 tonnes – from the old centre for the foundations of this exciting new building with which we will be able to achieve so much more.

“We see it as a new community hub with programmes for schools, under-represented groups and a host of community organisations. We want this to be a place for everyone to enjoy – from committed skaters to people who meet up in the cafe before exploring the fantastic surrounding green spaces.”

Councillor Ahsan Khan, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest and Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “We’re so proud to have Lee Valley Ice Centre in Waltham Forest. Our £1m 10-year package will deliver a range of benefits, from a targeted crime prevention programme to a mental health and wellbeing programme. We’re excited about the role the new centre will play in enhancing social cohesion.”

The groundbreaking new venue, which will be the UK’s most sustainable ice centre, is less than two miles from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, continuing London’s Olympic legacy by using many of the same principles of the three London 2012 venues which Lee Valley Regional Park Authority helped
design and now owns. It’s expected to:

  • Boost the local economy by £1.5 million annually.
  • Transform the surrounding landscape and increase wildlife by replacing areas largely devoid
    of ecological value with significant native planting.
  • Have sustainability at its heart, with innovative energy and water re-use methods a key part of
    the operation.
  • Create 45 new jobs in the centre.

Dannii Goldie, one of the centre’s long-standing coaches, said: “Lee Valley Ice Centre has been huge a part of my life since 1984 when I was one of the first people on the ice, skating at the Opening Gala for the old centre. Since then, my training has taken me to numerous national and international ice skating championships to now coaching the next generation of budding ice skaters. A lot of my skaters are women and young girls and we know that females are often less likely to take part in sport. I’m excited about the opportunities the new Lee Valley Ice Centre will bring and can’t wait to be part of encouraging more people to get active.”

The new venue, designed by the award winning FaulknerBrowns Architects, is being delivered by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd and Wrenbridge which have a track record of undertaking landmark projects and working closely with local communities. Over the coming months, the team will complete the internal fit-out ahead of the reopening later this year.

The external landscaping which is being delivered by LDA Design – the team responsible for the design of the parklands on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – will include planting over 8,000 square metres of wildflower-rich meadows around the centre, around the size of a football pitch. Over 120 native trees will be planted around the site, including black poplar and crack willows. Black poplars are the rarest native tree in Britain and very local to Lee Valley Ice Centre, while crack willows are important for wildlife in wetland habitats.

Over the construction period, members of the public have been able to find out more information by calling a 24/7 construction hotline 0800 093 1716 or by visiting leevalleyicecentre.com

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