Ice rink plan for Dunmow's Doctors Pond

PUBLISHED: 09:35 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 07:36 30 May 2010

A BOLD move to save a town s historic centrepiece has resulted in plans to give it the most striking of facelifts. Due to new EU-led health and safety regulations Great Dunmow s Doctors Pond was due to be filled in at noon today (Thursday April 1).

A BOLD move to save a town's historic centrepiece has resulted in plans to give it the most striking of facelifts.

Due to new EU-led health and safety regulations Great Dunmow's Doctors Pond was due to be filled in at noon today (Thursday April 1) mainly because it does not have barriers all the way around.

But in a final hour act, a Dunmow Town Councillor has stepped in to secure a deal which will now see it become the UK's first ever natural indoor ice-skating rink.

Cllr Clive Smith has arranged a contract with Danish ice rink provider Loof Iirpa and construction is set to go ahead shortly, saving the historic site.

He said: "We had to act fast because we were going lose the entire pond under concrete, the only way was to find a safer use for it and we believe what we have here will be a facility that will bring tourists to Dunmow in their droves."

If current plans go ahead a 20-foot dome, similar in design to London's millennium dome, will be built over the attractions and the pond will be kept frozen by a refrigeration system which is used in many indoor snow facilities.

Car parking will be provided underground and the facility will also house an internal restaurant and shops.

The Doctors Pond has a historical past. It was the place in which the first ever non-sinkable lifeboats were tested by the inventor Lionel Lukin who was a Dunmow resident at the time.

How it got its name no one really knows, but one theory is that Doctor Rayner who lived in the town in the 18th century used to care for the pond and keep it stocked with fish.

As a result local historians are very wary of the new development but many have agreed that if it means the difference between losing the pond for good or keeping it, they will support the project.

Cllr Smith, who lives just yards from the water's edge added: "This brings in a new era for Dunmow and I certainly hope everyone will embrace the project.

"We are looking at putting in a bridge over North Street so people can drive over the dome which would east traffic."

It is also understood the iconic island and tree in the middle of the pond will be kept intact. According to the contractors, work on the facility, which has already received the nickname 'The Dunmow Dome', will take exactly 12 months.

Return to the Broadcast site at noon today for more in the project.

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