AMBITIOUS plans to create Hartlepool’s first-ever ice rink have been given the approval by impressed councillors.
The plans by entrepreneur Brian Morton to construct a state-of-the-art artificial rink at The JD Sports Domes, in Seaton Carew, could create between 100 and 150 part-time and full-time jobs.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee gave its unanimous approval at a meeting and it will see a third inflatable dome housing the ice rink, which can also be used to host sports and cultural events, exhibitions, and ceremonies.
The new addition will aim to build on the success of the domes – that opened in February last year – and which house artificial football pitches and a state-of-the-art indoor golf centre.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Morton said: “I am delighted the plans have been given the go-ahead by the committee.
“They could sense what we are trying to achieve and this will be a great asset for Seaton Carew, Hartlepool and the wider region.
“A venue of this size and quality is something the people of Hartlepool have been asking about for a long time.”
Mr Morton added that he hopes to see the ice dome up and running by the end of the year.
During the meeting, councillors spoke up in favour of the plans.
Labour councillor Paul Beck said: “What I love about the site is that it is family orientated – the development is superb and I fully support this.”
Conservative councillor Brenda Loynes added: “We need amenities like this in Hartlepool.”
The ice dome will be created to the south of the existing football dome and building on Tees Road, in Seaton Carew, which houses a gym, bar and restaurant.
As well as the new ice-rink, measuring around 80-feet by 50-feet, the dome will include a 1,200-seater auditorium, toilets and changing facilities, skate store, and light refreshment cafe.
The council had received five letters of objection and four letters of no objection to the plans.
Objections centred around concerns over traffic congestion and noise late at night.
Labour councillor Marjorie James raised concerns about cars spilling over onto Tees Road.
But the council’s transport team said they were comfortable the additional 116-space car park and two coach park bays were sufficient.
l Mail view: Page 8