Kensington & ChelseaNews

Christmas ice rink that expected 10,000 visitors a day scrapped over ‘heightened tensions’ in capital

A proposed Christmas ice rink in Kensington Palace Gardens has been postponed for a year amid “heightened tensions” in the capital over the Israel and Hamas conflict.

Event organisers, Tamarisk, announced the cancellation after a review into the current political climate and its impact on neighbouring embassies that include the Israeli embassy.

Organisers have confirmed that all pre-ordered tickets will be refunded and the event will be hosted next year.

An artist design of the gigantic ice rink that was et to come to Kensington Palace Gardens this Christmas (Picture: Kensington and Chelsea Council planning documents)

Tamarisk founder’s Robert Derry and Peter Phillips said: “In developing the plans for ICE at Kensington Palace, our primary concern has always been the safety and enjoyment of our visitors. 

“In light of recent tragic events, and during a period of heightened tension and uncertainty in the area, we have taken the decision to postpone the planned event for this year as the safety and security of the public continues to be our priority.

“We are hugely grateful to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, our Partners, local businesses and the wider community who have worked with us over recent months, and we look forward to returning in 2024 to deliver a magical, festive experience that everyone can enjoy.”

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington earlier this month in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have taken part in pro-Palestinian protests in London for the last two weekends.

In August, Kensington and Chelsea council’s planning committee approved plans for the temporary ice rink to open in the Perks Field area from November 30 until January 7, 2024.

According to council documents, the Christmas fair in Perks Field, was set to draw in as many as 10,350 visitors per day.

Deputy Leader and lead member for employment, culture and economy, Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith, said: “We have been so looking forward to having a new winter ice rink here in Kensington and the plans from Tamarisk were for a fantastic attraction giving local people and visitors another amazing space in the borough to enjoy over the festive period.

“However, safety comes first, and I fully support and appreciate the organisers’ decision to postpone the event until 2024.

“I know it’s a decision that has not been taken lightly. We’ll be ready to support them to bring the event back in 2024.”

Pictured top: Kensington Palace, set in Kensington Gardens where the ice rink was set to open this Christmas (Picture: PA)

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