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New ice rink planned for West London this winter

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

A winter-themed ice rink and festive bar in the heart of London could be approved as soon as next week.

Underbelly Ltd wants to run the pop-up ice rink on Hanover Square in Mayfair from November 4 until January 1, 2024.

Known as Skate West End, it will run from 10am to 10pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 10am to 9.30pm on Sundays, according to Westminster City council documents.

A photo of Hanover Square in Mayfair, which could be home to a temporary winter-themed ice-rink if plans are approved by Westminster City council (Picture: Westminster City council)

Plans show an elliptical rink surrounding a festive bar that can only be accessed via two pedestrian bridges and marquees which will be adorned with festive festoon lighting.

Skaters will be able to make their way through two arched entrances on either side of the site, which is powered by two “sustainable” HVO generators, according to Underbelly’s agent, Gerald Eve.

Underbelly Ltd, which has run outdoor events up and down the country for 20 years, has promised to pass on some of the profits to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Westminster City council will decide whether to approve the temporary marquee structure during a committee meeting on October 17.

The application would allow Skate West End to return in 2024 and 2025.

So far, the site will consist of two ancillary offices, a store, toilets, and advertising panels roughly three metres in height.

It’s also expected to employ three full-time staff and 20 part-time staff.

Construction is expected to start next on October 18 and take just over two weeks to complete. Pack-down of the temporary ice skating site will start on January 2, 2024, and take nine days.

Westminster City councillors are set to approve the plans despite concerns from two objectors who say it goes against local policy plans and concerns over the storage of bins, toilets and equipment, which will be located outside 20 Hanover Square.

The council said the event will last two months and provide “less than substantial harm” to the area.

The report read: “The proposal provides a distinctive visitor experience. It will also generate jobs over the holiday season – three full-time staff, and 20 part-time.

“It accords with the city council’s wider ambitions to improve Oxford Street, helping local businesses, providing jobs, and investing in high streets.

“The public benefits are considered to outweigh the less than substantial harm. It is recommended that temporary permission is granted.”

Underbelly Ltd has also applied for an operator’s licence.

Pictured top: A CGI of the Skate West End ice-rink planned for Hanover Square in Mayfair, if plans are approved by Westminster City council (Picture: Westminster City council/Gerald Eve/Underbelly Ltd)

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