GUILDHALL Square in Portsmouth will be transformed into an ice-skating rink this Christmas.
In a six-year deal, the city council has granted company THIS Events Co Ltd planning permission to transform the city centre hub into a winter wonderland each year up until January 2024.
As previously revealed in The News, it will be surrounded by Christmas trees, with a wooden chalet bar to be built next to the Civic Offices.
Construction on the rink is expected to get under way from early November with the 646sq m rink to be in place from Saturday, November 18 until January 2 next year.
A spokesman for THIS Events Co Ltd said: ‘We are delighted to have received planning permission for the proposed winter ice rink in Guildhall Square.
‘We’re confident that our rink will prove to be a successful and highly-popular addition to Portsmouth’s winter scene and we cannot wait to get started.
‘We thank the council for their vote of confidence in granting us planning approval, and we thank the many businesses and groups around the Guildhall Square area for their support.’
Clare Upton-Brown, assistant director of culture and city development at the council, gave their plans the green light.
Councillor Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, said: ‘It will make the square look beautiful through the end of the year and it really is a win-win situation for the council and residents.
‘Hopefully, it will bring more people into the city centre and Commercial Road giving it a bit of a lift.’
The ice rink is big enough for 215 skaters per session.
All sessions are for one hour and include skate hire with the rink to be open from 10.30am until 11pm. Nine sessions will take place across the period on a daily basis with the rink open every day apart from Christmas Day.
The company has previously had success with ice rinks in Bournemouth and Bath.
The annual Christmas carol concert usually takes place in the Square, drawing hundreds of families down to watch little ones from schools sing their hearts out.
Instead of being held in the Square, this year’s event will take place in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.