Basingstoke Gazette reports that Planet Ice in Basingstoke is due to be refitted following a surveyor’s report into the state of the arena. Users of the rink had raised concerns about the poor state of the ice and of the fabric of the building, to the extent of starting a petition to seek action.
The article pinpoints two options as far as long-term maintenance goes – either close the rink and carry out sufficient work to ensure the existing facility can meet expectations or a full-scale refit of the current rink – but there appears to be no obligation for this long-term maintenance to take place.
In the short term, the surveyors have recommended that the south seating block of the rink is closed while work is carried out to prepare the rink for the new ice hockey season starting on 10 September.
The article quotes Planet Ice as saying that the building has suffered problems for more than 20 years, longer than it has operated the rink. Planet Ice has operated the rink since 2000, according to internet website archives, so has only lived with those issues for 16 years.
Ryde Arena, the former Planet Ice rink now operated by a community trust, reopened at the weekend with two special free skating days for customers as well as a disco on the Friday evening session. The rink closed temporarily late last year after strong winds damaged the roof, leading to severe water damage in public areas including the bar and cafe.
All is still not well with the rink, however, as issues with the refrigeration plant mean it is operating limited hours. During the summer holidays the rink is open to the public only from Monday to Friday, midday to 3pm.
Although figure skaters have been able to train at the rink since the roof was repaired, the recent issues with the refrigeration plan have curtailed such activities, with IW synchro teams having to travel to rinks such as Bracknell to continue on-ice training. While the teams have had to seek alternative arrangements, and have not been allowed to skate, the Arena has apparently allowed public skating from a group of students and on its reopening weekend with 10 hours of free skating available the teams were still not allowed to train on Saturday morning, even though they pay for ice time.
According to a statement by the trust published on an IW hockey group Facebook page, the glycol needs draining out of the chiller and ice pad coolant circuit. This involves about 7,000 litres of glycol being drained and replaced with new, together with the purchase of two new pumps.
That statement says the trust has received confirmation from the insurance loss adjuster that the landlord has accepted a cash settlement in lieu of refitting the damaged end of the building. Ryde Arena Trust will now only run the “rink” area, as it has been doing since February. The remaining area – which includes the cafe and bar – will be left for the landlord to decide its future. The damaged end of the building is therefore not part of the trust’s operation.
With the repairs to all electrics within the rink area, a new dehumidifier, a more visible and better located entrance, new reception and office area, skate hire racks and now the agreed work for new pumps the trust believes it is in a positive position moving forward. The rink will continue to sell hot and cold drinks and snacks from reception and run an events bar for hockey.
Basingstoke Gazette reports that an online petition has been started to seek answers about the deteriorating condition of Basingstoke ice rink, which is operated by Planet Ice.
Users of the rink set up the petition because of safety concerns about the state of the ice and the fabric of the building. One of the stands is condemned, one of the main changing rooms is closed, and the lack of a working dehumidifier means that there is mist over the ice.
Midlands Express and Star reports that Sandwell Council has scrapped plans to redevelop the derelict multi-storey car park at Queens Square, West Bromwich, to provide an ice rink. The council, which owns the land, intends to pursue a more comprehensive development that provides better value.
Plans for the rink had been put forward by Planet Ice.
Slough and South Bucks Observer reports that Slough Borough Council has failed to come to a decision on providing a temporary ice rink to provide continuity of skating when Absolutely Ice closes for refurbishment later this year. The council has postponed the decision until September, just weeks before the permanent rink is due to close.
Grimsby Telegraph reports that the future of Grimsby ice rink is again in question as North East Lincolnshire Council has given no assurances that the lease on its ice plant will be renewed.
The rink currently operates using a temporary ice pad, which was installed in September 2014 following the failure of the old cooling plant. The council initially looked at keeping this in place for up to two years with the ultimate aim of having a more permanent solution. The council has yet to make a decision on whether to renew the lease on the temporary plant.
Cambridge News reports that South Cambridgeshire District Council has agreed a £1.85 million loan towards Cambridge Ice Arena to kickstart the development.
The 56 x 26 metre rink, to be built on land next to Newmarket park and ride, received planning permission last year. The loan completes funding for the rink, which could now be ready to open by autumn 2017.