SKATERS forced to travel miles to copy Torvill and Dean will soon be back on the ice in Altrincham.
Trafford council has given permission for a wooden Olympic-sized "ice dome" to be built on Oakfield Road.
Since the previous rink on Devonshire Road closed in March 2003, local skaters, including Sale's 23-year-old ice dance champion Jennifer Barnfield, have had to make 80-mile training trips to North Wales.
If all goes to plan, first skaters and the Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey stars should hit the ice in July.
The building has a portable design already popular for ice rinks in Finland and it is expected to have a five-year life span on its new site before being replaced by a permanent rink.
Neil Morris, Manchester Phoenix Ice Hockey Club owner, has joined forces with Mike Petrouis, owner of several rinks in Britain, to fund the project as part of the long-term development of Altrincham town centre by developers David McLean Nikal.
Mr Morris said: "It's been a long journey to get to this point and it's not over yet. There's a lot of hard work to be done. But I'm very happy about it. It's a great day for ice skating in Greater Manchester.
"People from other countries or other parts of the country often ask me how many rinks we have in Manchester and when I tell them we don't even have one, they look at me a bit strangely.
"Once you start skating it's like a bug and this will bring great opportunities for kids through to adults to get into it."
Three people wrote to the council objecting to the plan on grounds including increased noise and car parking.
But councillors said the impact would not be significant enough to refuse permission.
The building is being manufactured in Finland by a company called Kevythalli Oy and will be reconstructed on the site.
Managing director Tom Adams is due to fly in next week to meet Mr Morris and Mr Petrouis to plan the next step.
A spokesman for Kevythalli Oy said: "The external cladding consists of metal and wood. It is a very simple and highly-insulated structure which can be easily transported. They are very popular as multi-purpose arenas and ice rinks in Finland.
"Now we have the go-ahead, we are hoping to start construction work in the next couple of weeks."
The new facility is believed to have cost £3.5m and there has been speculation that it will be named "The Trafford Ice Dome - Home of Manchester Phoenix".
As well as professional ice hockey, it will also be used for ice dancing, speed skating, recreational skating and junior and recreational ice hockey.
Manchester Evening News - 9th January 2006