A brand new take on frozen section: Ice rink coming to former Waitrose site

Inside the former Waitrose site in the Food Centre
Inside the former Waitrose site in the Food Centre

The redundant Waitrose food store in Central Milton Keynes is set to be given a new lease of life – as an ice skating rink.

Centre owners Hermes Real Estate have agreed “preferential terms” for a new voluntary-run company called MKIce to use the building in Midsummer Boulevard from the end of October.

And, far from giving the change of use plan the cold shoulder, Milton Keynes Council has stepped in with a £50,000 start-up loan.

MKIce is a non profit making company set up after the city’s Planet Ice rink at the Leisure Plaza was temporally closed for a year to allow for major refurbishment, as part of a deal for supermarket giant Morrisons to build a new store in the area.

MKIce has only one paid employee and 200 volunteers from local ice hockey and figure skating clubs.

The new rink will be home to previous clubs from Planet Ice, including the MK Storm junior ice hockey team and MK Thunder.

It could also be a training rink for the city’s senior ice hockey team, MK Lightning, who are playing their home games in Coventry this season.

But it will also be a place for the public to enjoy, say MKIce.

“We plan to be inclusive in enabling all ages and abilities to enjoy ice skating,” said a spokesman.

Also promising help is the National Hockey Foundation Charity, who will give another £50,000 loan which could be used to pay back the council.

The Food Centre ice rink has even been cautiously welcomed by campaign group xplainmk, who fought to get thecentre:mk historically listed.

Spokesman Linda Inoki said: “It is good they are doing something with this eyesore, white elephant centre.

“But we would like to see more fresh food retailers too . This area is a food desert.”