A MAN campaigning to build a new ice rink has won the backing of an MP and is now asking for feedback from the public.

Simon James has been on a mission to bring an ice rink back to Brighton and Hove since 2012, initially next to King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove and now at Victoria Recreation Ground in Portslade.

To test public demand for a permanent attraction in the city, Mr James wants to build a temporary one with a 30 metre by 60 metre ice rink, plus seating for about 600 spectators.

This trial would run for three to five years.

He has now had pre-planning advice on the project from Brighton and Hove City Council, which says that any loss of open space in the city should bring about other improvements to the area.

Mr James said: “There are many ways the ice rink could enhance the park.

“It would provide extra security and a presence, as currently no one would cross the park at night.

“An ice rink would also open up a Pandora’s Box of activities.

“People of all ages and abilities could enjoy the rink, as well as clubs playing ice hockey, and doing speed skating and ice dancing.”

Simon is now campaigning to gather public support for an ice rink, and will apply for planning permission in a year’s time to run the pilot scheme.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “Brighton centre is a ‘black-hole’ which sucks all the city’s activities into it, so I’ve been very vocal about getting entertainment, sporting and health activities over to Portslade.

“I love the idea of piloting this with a trial, however, whatever is developed has got to be responding to local demand, so I urge the developers of the ice rink to engage in comprehensive listening to the local community and to ensure that residents are widely consulted on these plans.”

The pre-planning advice states: “The proposed site has no specific allocation in the City Plan and is currently part of a playing field.

“It is considered the open space loss would be significant and it is also recognised the existing playing pitches are currently used by local teams.”

It adds: “It is recognised that a proposal of this nature would provide an additional sporting facility and a much needed permanent ice rink in the city. Additionally there is the potential for economic and tourism benefits.”

The advice encourages Mr James to speak to neighbours and stakeholders about the plans.

To have your say on the plan, go to sussexicerink.co.uk