Council-owned land around Basingstoke that could be big enough for a temporary ice rink has been identified for further discussion with councillors.
Next Wednesday (19 June) Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Community, Environment and Partnerships Committee will discuss a report on repairs needed to the existing privately-owned rink, which is over 30 years old and in poor condition.
Proposals for a new modern ice rink have been included in a council agreement with NewRiver Leisure Ltd to redevelop Basingstoke Leisure Park at no public cost, subject to a rink being viable in the future. But the plans are in their early stages and the existing rink is unlikely to last until a new one could be built.
So ice rink users have been pushing for a temporary ice rink to be ready if the existing rink fails. To support this move, the council has explored any land in its ownership that would be the right size.
Five pieces of land have been found of the size current ice rink operator Planet Ice has indicated could be needed for their temporary rink building, which could be used for ice activities including Bison ice hockey matches. These are at Viables business park, beside Thornycroft roundabout, at Down Grange Sports Complex, on Brighton Hill playing fields and next to the tennis centre in War Memorial Park.
Before deciding which ones could be investigated further, local councillors and committee members at the meeting on Wednesday 19 June are being urged to give their views.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Property Cllr John Izett said: “I understand the passionate commitment of the ice users’ forum and Bison supporters and share their concerns about the state of repair of the ice rink and the threat to its future.
“We want to have a modern ice rink in Basingstoke in the future and without our comprehensive redevelopment proposals for the Basingstoke Leisure Park this would not be possible, given around £12 million investment would be needed. The ice rink is an important facility but it is not a council owned one and we are not in a position to use council taxpayers’ money to take on a private business and run the ice rink.
“We want to support Planet Ice’s proposal for a temporary rink building in the meantime, if possible. We are being open about the sites that have come out of initial searches. There aren’t lots of large areas of suitable council-owned land lying unused, some of the land is currently used as open space or sports pitches, which may or may not be supported for a different use by local communities and current users.
“I am keen to hear the views of ward councillors and committee members to help decide which sites could go forward for more detailed investigation to move forward as quickly as possible.”