Angry residents are raising questions over the cost to taxpayers of staging an ice rink in Horsham Park.
It follows the revelation that Horsham District Council has allowed the ice rink operators - Horsham Outdoor Events - to use the public park site free of charge.
Residents say organisers of other money-making events normally have to pay for the use of the park. One resident - Phillip Lucas - said: “The council has already had to cut trees, so already the Horsham taxpayer has funded this event.”
And Ros Shiel, of Hurst Road, added: “Siting the ice rink in Horsham Park has made that area inaccessible to park users for five months,” and asked: “What compensation can the people of Horsham expect for this commercialisation of formerly free-to-use public space?”
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Horsham Park hosts a number of events throughout the year. Historically, when new operators have approached the council to test new opportunities in the park, the council has used discretion around charging in order to test the viability of the activity before determining an appropriate pricing structure.
“Once the viability assessment for any such activity has been tested, any subsequent enquiries are normally accommodated by agreeing an appropriate charge.”