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Letter: I Am Not Surprised The Village Ice Rink Has Closed

From Howard Moss

In response to: Internal Party Pressure and Ice Rink Closure Force Withdrawal of Post-Christmas Funding for The Village

I am not surprised the ice rink has closed, we went as a family two weekends ago, having bought pre-booked tickets online. On arrival, we found out it was much cheaper to just turn up and skate; we felt totally ripped off.

We spent between 12.30 and 2pm onsite on a beautiful crisp sunny Sunday, yet the place was soulless with a number of the stalls closed.

The approach to The Village from the Woodbridge roadside is awful, old wooden hoardings covered in graffiti. I have professional experience with container use buildings having just obtained planning consent for an office based scheme near Bristol, design is everything.

I have visited and researched a number of other schemes both office and retail-based, the lime green containers with white UPVC doors does not promote a vibrant, shopping and entertainment venue.

The council having realised they can’t let the units has chosen to let vendors open temporary stalls in front of the containers subsequently it has ended up looking like a second-rate, run-down seaside town.

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One Response to Letter: I Am Not Surprised The Village Ice Rink Has Closed

  1. A Atkinson Reply

    December 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I could not agree more with Mr Moss; great design, the look and the feel are vital to make these types of spaces and experiences work. I said this a while back and I too used the seaside town analogy, because it was true:

    http://www.guildford-dragon.com/2017/05/15/village-not-throw-good-money-bad/

    I too have been involved in projects and container sites at Boxpark Shoreditch and Pop Brixton plus many other experiential events in unusual spaces. What was clear to me from the outset was this space, from its location, aspect, use of that corporate green and white, lack of coherent reason for being, was going to fail. But that’s fine and worth a go.

    What is worrying and wrong is that the Executive thought it was worth further funding in the hope, given the time it would work, somehow. In today’s world, things just don’t work like that.

    Events spaces like this need to be more intimate, giving the sense of popularity even though it may be quiet, go double decker. Why call it a “Village” it’s clearly not, it’s in the middle of a town 100% built of steel and concrete (perhaps it is the template for all the borough’s villages given the local plan proposals) and it is patronising to visitors to think that they will think it is. Immediately the name itself has created something false. To appeal today things have to be “real”.

    The look and feel have to appeal precisely to the audience it is trying to attract. Sell the space to brands that want to appeal and are aligned to that audience, let the big brands create the theatre; Uggs, Adidas, Nike, Cream Egg Cafe, Pantone etc all use pop up spaces to create brand experiences.

    If John Lewis wants to be in Guildford, let them invest and be the anchor site in the space – make it their virtual store. Why not get EA to create a state of the art virtual experience, why not get the University to create a whizz-bang 5G experience…..etc. The possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination, creativity and vision.

    Success is not a function of time and lots of taxpayers money despite what some on the Executive still seem to think.

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