CONCERNS over the future of a ‘vital community asset’ have been raised by its users who are making a desperate call for clarity.

Users of Planet Ice, in Basingstoke Leisure Park, have been left worried over the future of the venue as there has been no initial mention of it in the proposed £300million revamp of the Leisure Park.

As reported by The Gazette last year, operator Planet Ice said with the deterioration of the venue it does not see a long-term future for the arena.

Now a group of ice rink users and clubs have come together to offer a unified voice for facility users.

The Ice Rink Users Forum aims to ensure the current ice rink remains operational, or a temporary alternative can be found, until a potential new one is built.

Stewart Tempest, junior Bison chairman and a forum member said: “There are so many people who use the ice rink and since it opened the Bison have been a huge part of the town.

“It is in desperate need of repair, as the users forum we want to open a dialogue with the council, Planet Ice and New River [the Leisure Park developer] to make sure this town has an ice rink it deserves.

“We need to make sure that Basingstoke and Deane honour their obligations to the people of Basingstoke and help ensure the current ice rink is kept operational and that plans for a new ice rink are part of the redevelopment plan.”

A petition calling for an ice rink to remain in Basingstoke has been set up by the forum and within four days it had gathered more than 4,000 signatures.

While the land the Leisure Park is on is owned by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the council says it is not responsible for addressing existing issues at the rink.

Council leader Councillor Clive Sanders said: “The council owns the land at the Leisure Park but the ice rink itself is owned by a private landlord, who lets it to the operator.

“The issues with the existing ice rink are well known but the repair of the building is very clearly the responsibility of the landlord and operator.

It would be difficult for the council to justify using public funds to subsidise a private commercial business.

“The £300 million rejuvenation of the Basingstoke Leisure Park is an innovative and complex regeneration project.

“It will take some years before construction will be completed and, of course, it is subject to gaining planning permission.

“The detail of what new facilities will be included has yet to be decided and discussions with existing operators, as well as public consultation on what residents want to see, will be part of shaping the future provision.

“This longer term solution, however, is not a barrier to investment in the ice rink now for the medium term by the landlord and operator, in the same way that the council is itself investing in the existing Aquadrome to ensure the good condition of its own facility is maintained pending the building of a brand new £23 million Aquadrome.”

Planet Ice did not respond to a request for comment.

To view the petition, go to