The ice rink at the Link Centre will shut for a number of months, including the summer holidays, after a sharp rise in energy costs.

The West Swindon leisure facility, which is one of the few remaining ice rinks in the UK, will close from May 15 for a number of months throughout the summer holidays.

GLL, which operates the Link Centre under the Better brand, says the 16-week closure will allow it to carry out a series of energy efficiency works, costing over £300,000 to take place. 

It says that this project aims to "safeguard the future of the ice rink" by upgrading the plant and machinery, leading to reduced energy consumption and improved efficiency. 

Since 2019, the centre says it has seen a sharp rise in its energy costs which have doubled from £600,000 four years ago to £1.2m a year now.

The improvement works will see the ice pad lifted, the old and inefficient plant replaced and a new state-of-the-art drying cooling system installed.

Aside from being a facility used by members of the public, the ice rink is also home to one of the UK's ice hockey teams, the Bespoke Guardians Swindon Wildcats, who use it to train and as the venue for their home matches. 

GLL adds that it has chosen the timing of the closure to try and minimise the impact on the Wildcats, as well as members of the public. 

It said that work has been scheduled to take place over the summer period because it falls outside the main ice hockey season and is a time when club, group and public bookings tend to be at their lowest.

Barnaby Rich, partnership manager for GLL, said: “While we recognise that the temporary closure will be an inconvenience for some of our customers, the improvements really are essential if we are to secure the long-term future of the facility and to mitigate some of the impact of rising operating costs. 

"We’ve scheduled the closure for the quietest period in the year, in order to minimise disruption and look forward to welcoming our skaters back in the early autumn to a much-improved rink.”

Anyone hoping to go ice-skating at a proper ice rink during this time will face a 30-mile journey to Oxford, the next closest ice rink.