MEMBERS of the Ice Rink Users Forum and the wider public attended two meetings this week to discuss the future of Basingstoke’s rink.

The Planet Ice-run facility in the Leisure Park has structural issues, with the operators claiming there is no long-term future for the arena.

However, since the announcement of £300 million redevelopment of the Leisure Park by NewRiver REIT Plc, ice rink users have been pushing for a new rink to be a part of the plans.

At a public meeting held at the arena on Saturday, users heard from Planet Ice’s management stating they would be open to looking at a temporary rink for the interim period, if Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council makes the land available.

Chair of the Ice Rink Users Forum, Sally Cashman said: “At the moment we are still processing the information that has come out of the meeting.

“I think it was largely positive in a negative way, in the sense that it wasn’t anything that we didn’t know.

“Planet Ice said the issue [at the rink] is with the padding, which could last a day or could last for several months, we just don’t know.”

Then on Monday, NewRiver met with members of the forum to outline that a new rink is something it is looking to include in their plans.

Stewart Tempest, junior Bison chairman and a forum member said the meeting with NewRiver was extremely positive.

He said: “I genuinely feel that NewRiver with the help of all interested parties will deliver an ice rink that will at the least be fit for purpose and could potentially be a whole lot more.

“The delivery of the new development will take many years and NewRiver realise that it is important that there is continuity of a rink in the town.”

Jamie Whitfield, development director at NewRiver, said: “It was very helpful to meet with the different user groups of the ice rink to understand their needs and preferred future facilities.”

Cabinet member for property and development, Cllr John Izett said: “We want Basingstoke to continue to have an ice rink. Planet Ice’s offer to provide a temporary ice rink as part of a plan for a permanent new ice rink to be built is welcome.”