Ice rink plan to liven-up late night festive shopping in Lewes

PLANS to give the Christmas late night shopping event in Lewes a new lease of life are being investigated.

The introduction of an artificial ice skating rink is just one possibility being considered.

Cllr Amanda Dean put forward a number of suggestions to enhance the annual festive event at last week’s meeting of Lewes Town Council.

She thought more attractions for children and families would be a success in the run-up to Christmas.

Cllr Dean said the restrictions of the Lewes parking scheme and a number of road closures in the past couple of years have posed additional challenges to the town’s traders in an increasingly difficult financial climate.

She suggested investigating the cost of hiring an artificial rink, the organisation of a children’s lantern parade on late night shopping night and a long-term plan to work towards a comprehensive Christmas lighting theme in the town.

It was suggested at the meeting that a possible location for the skating rink would be Malling Recreation Ground.

Festive lighting in Lewes has long been a thorny problem, with the town’s efforts often strongly criticised when compared to the efforts of other towns in the county.

The structure of the old buildings and sheer cost have been two of the stumbling blocks.

Cllr Ashley Price said he had been discussing the lighting issue with Lewes Chamber of Commerce for more than a year and that the question of how the town should present itself stretched back over decades.

Cllr Dean said local traders needed all the support they could get. “It occured to me that it would be fun to have more going on for children and families at that special time of year,” she said.

In researching the issue, she said that the activities she suggested had been part of the festive routine at Ambleside in Cumbria for some years. “This has been a successful way of celebrating Christmas in a smaller parish and therefore seemed a useful example to follow,” she said.

It was agreed that both Cllr Dean and Cllr Price attend future meetings with the Chamber of Commerce to carry plans forward and ensure there was no duplication of effort.