Welcome to the Littleport Ice Stadium Project! 

Littleport - because it’s the historical home of ice sports - speed skating and bandy in the UK.  

Ice Stadium - because it’s not just a standard ice rink or ice arena.

Project - because it’s a work in progress

The Littleport Ice Stadium will be a 400 metre long track for ice speed skating on a par with any Olympic Oval anywhere in the world, but it will also be the only full-size size Bandy pitch in England on a par with the many !00 metres long by 60 metres wide bandy pitches in the Nordic countries, such as Sweden and Norway! It will also be of Olympic standard.

We had drawn plans for an enclosed ice arena, and this plan would still be viable were the costs to be met - but we now have a plan for an outdoor arena, similar to the Zinkendamm in Stockholm, the costs of building which are far less! It can also be argued to be less impacting on the rural landscape of the fens. The neccessary changing areas, garaging for ice cleaning machines etc., all contained within adjacent large fen sheds...

There is also a renewed interest in the sport of Bandy - the forerunner of ice hockey, and even football, that originated in the fens of East Anglia!  Very similar to grass hockey and football, it requires a similar sized pitch - and there will be one in the Littleport Ice Stadium!

Speed skating and Bandy are growing in popularity in GB and national and international matches and tournaments would thus take place on home soil instead of having to travel abroad!

The UK has a reasonably popular skating scene for all the ice disciplines - but only those that can be contained in a 26/30 metre by 56/60 metre ice pad.  Short track speed skating has had some success, with a few clubs making use of usual ice rink facilities, as have the figure, dance and synchro.

Now we have the rise in popularity of the new old sport of Bandy with its base back on the fens where it began - at Planet Ice Peterborough - where  Peterborough Bandy Club is leading the resurgence.

There they are playing Rink Bandy, and a league will be formed from other rinks where bandy is played.

A GB Men's team is already complete and a women's team is forming. (As of June 2018)

Historically, ice sport was confined - and restricted - by the dictates of the thermometer!  When the winters were harder and the ice was plentiful, particularly on the fens of East Anglia, skating was not just fun it was also a way of winning prizes of money and food when working the land became impossible in the winter. The two disciplines were speed skating and bandy. 

Bandy is the old English name for 'curved' and it's played with a curved stick and a small ball. Speed skating was a handy skill for traversing large swathes of countryside, allowing anyone who could to visit friends and relatives or do a bit of business where otherwise the way would be impassable.

In recent times there has been a resurgence of interest in long track speed skating – possibly as a result of television coverage at the Winter Olympics... The fact that there is available ice at local rinks may well go some way towards fulfilling the would-be speed skater’s desire to imagine themselves flying round a long track as they negotiate a short one - but it will always fall short of reality.

Bandy also has had  coverage in the media when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watched an exhibition of Bandy and participated themselves on a royal visit to Sweden in January 2018.

The 2 pictures, top right on this page, are of the old and famous fen skaters, that includes the man who was a champion speed skater and bandy player - and who regularised the rules for bandy as they are played to this day, Charles Goodman Tebbutt, and his team, who were all speed skaters and bandy players, and illustrates the remarkable advances that have been made in this 21st century! And how an ice stadium will promote participation and interest in these healthful and life enhancing pastimes.

The planned ice stadium will indeed enhance so many lives in so many ways. A clean and healthy option for everyone - and a benefit to its immediate community area - and England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, too.

Even the recreational use of an ice pad is not the same as a slow cruise around a 400 metre long oval. Or the opportunity for some fun and games on a lake-sized ice sheet as big as a soccer pitch!

There must be room, both literally and figuratively, for skating enjoyment of every kind for everyone who wants to experience the joy of being on the ice, whether that remains for pleasure only or whether it becomes a desire to excel and perhaps compete in long track ice speed skating or in a bandy team.

A central 100 metre long by 60 metre wide sheet of ice will allow for some great skating experiences, whether taking part in a game, recreational skating pursuits or watching!

Of course all skaters’ needs, whatever their level, or physical or mental ability, will be met as a consequence of the primary inspiration for the Littleport Ice Stadium Project, and that includes the social meeting and refreshment areas, (non-alcoholic) as well as providing coaching rooms with the necessary technological equipment for elite participants. The whole facility will be wheelchair friendly and totally accessible.

Indeed the motivating spirit behind the formation of the Littleport Ice Stadium Project is to provide a world class facility that would allow long track speed skating to flourish in the UK as it did when the winters were much colder on the fens of East Anglia, and in Littleport in particular where the first deliberately prepared ‘ice ground’ was provided by local benefactor and philanthropist, Thomas Peacock in 1892. 
And equally it is going to bring back the hugely popular team sport of Bandy in this specially constructed venue!
Plans have now  been drawn, and being drawn, by the distinguished architectural designer, Ian Rose, and these are available for investors, for public interest, and also for scrutiny by local and county planning authorities as will the latest outdoor plan.
The project is supported by the National Ice Skating Association who made their statement of support in its early days, by the Fen Centre, and by the Great Britain Bandy Federation that hopes to see its logo emblazoned on the outside of the ice stadium when it gets built!  The international players and clubs world-wide are also fully supportive of the English/British resurgence encapsulated by the ice stadium, represented by the Federation of International Bandy (FIB)

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