Construction work has started on the new Lee Valley Ice Centre in east London. The £30m regional centre is being built and funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
The centre is being constructed on the site of the old venue in Leyton. Designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects, it will be one of only three Olympic-sized twin rinks in the UK and the only venue of its kind in the southeast. Both rinks will be larger than the one in the original venue doubling capacity to attract over 500,000 people a year.
The new Lee Valley Ice Centre will include a café, gym, exercise studios and community spaces which will be open to everyone. It will be accompanied by landscape and ecology improvements including new wetland habitats. The venue will provide a place for people to socialise and relax and be a meeting point for visitors to the award-winning nearby green space.
“Starting work on this stunning, transformational investment is a declaration of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s long-term commitment to communities in east London and across the region,” said Shaun Dawson, chief executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
“We know how much the old venue was valued by people near and far, and the new one will have an expanded range of programmes for schools, community organisations, and under-represented groups – all of which will aid community cohesion plus physical and mental wellbeing.”
Once the centre is complete, the Authority will fund a £250,000 Community Engagement Programme that supports access to the venue for local community groups and schools. This will give over 68,000 people the opportunity to try out different activities at the new venue.
The London Borough of Waltham Forest’s £1m funding will complement this programme to create a package of benefits for residents with initiatives for under-represented groups, crime prevention, mental health and wellbeing, and biodiversity awareness, along with an employment and apprenticeship scheme and free event tickets for schools and community groups.
“One of our top priorities is to bring more chances for young people in our area to be able to exercise, relax, and train in top-class facilities. This project will increase the capacity of Lee Valley Ice Centre, allowing for even more people to get involved, and will also deliver employment and apprenticeship opportunities for local residents,” said Cllr Grace Williams, leader elect at the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
Construction is being carried out by Buckingham Group Contracting. East London artist Alice Druitt worked with two local schools, Sybourn Primary and St Joseph’s Catholic Junior, to design the hoarding for the site.