The ice rink at Swindon’s Link Centre is likely to reopen before Christmas.

Heavy flooding closed the Swindon's only ice rink on September 17 as rainfall damaged the sand ice pad base and created safety hazards around the lighting and electrical circuits.

It had been feared the rink, which is the home of the Swindon Wildcats, would be closed until 2024.

GLL said it had worked with Swindon Borough Council to get the ice rink open again and are now hoping to welcome skaters back earlier than expected.

The ice rink is now scheduled to reopen to the public on December 18 after the first home matches for the Swindon Wildcats take place on the weekend of December 16 and 17.

GLL’s head of service for Swindon, Jason Curtis, said: “The impact of September’s floods has been devastating for the Link Centre and the Ice Rink was badly affected.

“Our operations team, alongside specialist contractors, have been working around the clock to get the rink open as soon as possible.

“We’re hugely grateful for their efforts and the support of Swindon Borough Council, which has enabled us to include improvements to the ice base coolant system, rink hall insulation and plant as part of the restitution works.

“We are now planning to re-open the rink to the public on December 18 - contingent to some key milestones being met - and look forward to welcoming the local community back to this much loved Swindon facility.”

Earlier this year, the ice rink closed for 16 weeks so that £300,000 renovation work could be carried out which improved efficiency and energy consumption by replacing the cooling tower.

The new ice installation, which cost £385,000, is expected to reduce electricity usage by 20 per cent, saving the equivalent of 283 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The ice rink is likely to operate on a temporary timetable during December, with a full reopening and a new extended programme planned for the new year.

Swindon Advertiser: Cllr Jim Robbins GLL's Head of Service Jason Curtis, and Aaron Nell from Swindon Wildcats. Cllr Jim Robbins GLL's Head of Service Jason Curtis, and Aaron Nell from Swindon Wildcats. (Image: GLL)

Cllr Jim Grant, Cabinet Member for Communities and Joint Working, said: “I am really pleased we were able to step in and help GLL get the Link Centre back up and running sooner than anticipated because the leisure centre is such an important facility for the whole of Swindon.

“The new ice installation uses the very latest technology which will cut down on energy usage helping to reduce GLL’s costs and therefore make the rink more sustainable, which fits in well with our Achieve Net Zero mission.

“The real driver for us was we knew the Swindon Wildcats had major concerns about the impact on them if the ice rink wasn’t replaced before the end of the year and that we needed to act immediately.

“The fact we have been able to procure the technology so quickly means we have also helped secure their future which is fantastic news for all concerned.”

Steve Nell, managing director of Swindon Wildcats, said: “This has been a very difficult couple of months for the whole ice hockey community in Swindon. We are extremely grateful to GLL, SBC and the contractors on site that have worked around the clock to get the ice rink back open sooner than expected.

“Getting back on the ice in Swindon before Christmas will secure the long-term future of the club.

“Over the last few months, we have had incredible support from our sponsors and supporters, we can’t thank them enough and can’t wait to see them back at the Link Centre soon.”

The Link Centre’s swimming pool will be the final facility to reopen to the public. The team is currently awaiting delivery of specialist, pool-specific mechanical and electrical equipment which is required before the pool can become operational again.

This is expected to happen in early January 2024.