Councillors at South Cambridgeshire District Council have backed a £1.85 million loan to kick-start the build.
The loan will be taken out by Cambridge Leisure and Ice Centre (CLIC) – the Trust responsible for delivering the ice arena – and will be repaid to the Council over a period of 25 years. The interest rate has a premium on top so the Council will make a profit that will be invested into providing services for local residents.
The loan is the final, major piece of the funding jigsaw that will allow CLIC to focus on progressing with the construction works. Only a small funding gap remains and discussion on filling it is advancing well with other donors.
The arena – which was granted full planning permission last year – will be open to the public and sporting groups and built using the latest construction technologies to reduce its environmental impact, making it one of the most energy efficient ice rinks in the UK.
Cllr Simon Edwards, cabinet member for finance at South Cambs, said: “This is a win-win situation all around. The Council has the opportunity to both bring forward a key facility that a huge number of our residents will benefit from, while also making a very good commercial decision that will see us generate a good level of profit that we will then reinvest in local service people want and need.”
For over 20 years CLIC has been searching for a site in Cambridge on which to locate the arena. The £1m originally donated by alumnus David Gattiker all those years ago is now worth almost £3m. Combining this donation with others and the loan means the arena can rapidly move forward to construction.
Professor Bill Harris, Chairman of CLIC, said, “It is absolutely wonderful news that South Cambs is helping us to achieve this hugely desired community project. Their support, combined with Marshall’s and that of the University, means that we have almost everything in place now, and that it will not be long before we start building and thereby turning David Gattilker’s dream (and my own — as I have been working on this for nearly 20 years) into a reality for the people of Cambridge and South Cambs to enjoy for many years to come.”
Jim Kay of Cool Venues (CLIC’s development partner), said: “CLIC’s determination over the decades now looks like it’s paying off. The positive approach taken by the Council and Marshall have contributed greatly to breaking the deadlock. All now looks set for the community of Cambridge and beyond, together with the University’s ice hockey teams, to be strapping on skates later next year.’