Statement on ice rink repairs
The borough council is the owner of the leisure park but Basingstoke ice rink is not a council-run facility. It was leased at no rent on a long-term basis to the operator Planet Ice in 2000.
The leases require the current landlord Standard Securities and operator Planet Ice to keep the building in good and substantial repair, otherwise the council can take legal action to seek to have repairs carried out.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Property Cllr John Izett said: “We want a solution and are pressing for progress to happen as quickly as possible, recognising the role that the rink plays in the town and the community support for it.
“I met with Planet Ice recently to discuss a way forward after they requested a contribution of almost £1.5 million - two thirds of their total estimated cost of repairs needed - from the council. This would be in addition to Standard Securities requesting a 30 year extension of their lease without paying any rent to the council.
“I was disappointed by their proposal and explained that as a council we are not in a position to hand over taxpayers’ money to a private business with no return towards funding residents' services. This would be a subsidy to a commercial business that has been running the rink for 20 years. The council remains open to working with the operator and landlord on how they could take forward the repairs on commercial terms.
"However Planet Ice and Standard Securities have now indicated that they feel the most viable way forward is to continue the activity at the site in the same current state. The survey carried out by Planet Ice indicates to them that the condition has stabilised and that it is possible that the rink can continue for another five years.
"We need to explore this further with them and consider what happens next. One of the options open to the council as land owner is to serve a legal notice on them to undertake the repairs. I explained this position to councillors on the Community, Environment and Partnerships Committee last week in private session - necessary because of the commercially sensitive nature of the negotiations - together with the options open to us. The Chair of the Ice Users Forum has also been updated following the committee meeting.
"I hope that in the New Year a way forward can be found."