THE NORTH Pole ice rink and winter fair on Parker’s Piece proved popular with Cambridge residents and visitors over the recent festive period, after not having operated the previous year due to the pandemic.
The operator, Arena Events Ltd, reported that approximately 50,000 skaters used the ice rink and around 200,000 people visited the attraction as a whole between November and early January.
Under the terms of the agreement with Cambridge City Council, the rink and fair was dismantled and removed by 14 January.
As expected, there is some remedial work to Parker’s Piece required to recover damaged areas of the attraction’s footprint, which for this event was reduced by approximately 20% on previous years.
The cost of remedial work required for grass affected by the North Pole attraction will be met by the operator.
The aim is to get the site quickly back into public use. This will include aeration of the ground and over-seeding of some areas.
As in previous years, measures were taken before the event to protect the grass on Parker’s Piece, including by laying trackways and rubber matting throughout the site.
Some of the grass where the event was situated may appear yellow in colour for a period, but will steadily revert to its natural colour now that the structures and rides have been removed.
Areas which are devoid of grass will require cultivation and seeding. This work will take place over the next few weeks and recovery is expected by spring.
Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing, said: “It’s great to see that the return of the North Pole this year proved popular and added so much to Christmas in Cambridge. It was particularly welcome after the difficulties we’ve all faced over the past two years and the numbers of people visiting the rink and fairground, alongside new attractions like the Ice Slide and Ice Bar, were once again extremely popular with families.
“With no event last year, the council and the event operator worked together to make several changes in response to feedback from residents on previous years, including reducing the footprint of the event and the number of rides. We also ensured that the event was fully Covid safe.
“We will, of course, make sure that any necessary remedial works to the grass are undertaken and that the area affected on Parker’s Piece is back in full use as soon as possible.”