FIVE sites have been revealed as the potential home for a temporary ice rink in Basingstoke. 

As previously reported in the Gazette, the current Planet Ice facility, in the Leisure Park, has been deteriorating for years, with one of its stands being condemned. 

After plans were revealed that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and NewRiver REIT Plc, agreed to a £300 million redevelopment of the Leisure Park, there was calls to commit to the future of the rink. 

And the council has now revealed five potential sites to house a temporary rink, while the Leisure Park is being redeveloped. 

It comes after pressure group Basingstoke Ice Rink Users Forum, through its Keep Ice in Basingstoke campaign, have been asking the authority to commit to the short and long-term future of the attraction.

The sites identified are: War Memorial Park, Down Grange, Viables Industrial Estate, Thornycroft Roundabout opposite Milestones Museum and Brighton Hill Playing Fields - these are all pieces of land owned by the council. 

Cabinet member for regeneration and property at the borough council, Councillor John Izett said: “At this stage these are the sites that we have available to us, which would be suitable to house a temporary rink. 

“We haven’t looked any further than that at the moment, but we have to look at our options of what is going to be sustainable.” 

Director of borough development at the authority, Neil Taylor said the site would need to have around two-and-a-half acres to be suitable. 

Once a site is decided upon, it will be down to Planet Ice to submit a planning application. 

However, Mr Taylor added: “Planet Ice have told us they have these temporary rinks available to construct, so they are familiar with the process. 

“So even though we would be providing the land this would be a Planet Ice-run project.

“They have told us once a suitable site is found it could take up to 18 months to construct the temporary rink along with all the relevant planning infrastructure.” 

Chair of the Ice Rink Users Forum, Sally Cashman, said the news that the borough council has identified some sites was a ‘step in the right direction.’

She said: “The meeting with the borough council was very positive, but there is a long way to go. 

“Whatever site they decide on would have to be able to house anywhere between 1,000 to 1,200 people, so we still have our reservations.” 

The borough council said that the announcement of the potential sites is the start of what will be a long process. 

However, concerns have already been raised around some of the potential sites. 

Brighton Hill South ward councillor Andrew McCormick said: “I am firmly behind the idea of keeping ice in Basingstoke and if that means having a temporary rink in Brighton Hill, I would welcome that. But, if that is the case there needs to be plans put in place to make sure that all those people can get into Brighton Hill with no issue. 

“We are expected to have the Brighton Hill roundabout redeveloped soon, so looking at the playing field may not be the best idea.” 

However, Cllr Izett said the council has to look at every option. 

He added: “We have to look at all our options and the site available to us. 

“The important thing is, is that action is being taking to find a home for the ice rink.” 

A survey on the current facility and the proposed sites will be presented to the council’s the community, environment and partnerships committee on June 19.