BASINGSTOKE's ice skating rink facing a fight for its future is poised to reopen as restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic ease further.

Planet Ice, at the Leisure Park, closed its doors on March 21 as the country went into lockdown.

The facility, home to English ice hockey club The Basingstoke Bison, was already under threat as Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council prepares to redevelop the Leisure Park into a retail facility.

So far, a replacement home for Planet Ice hasn't been found or announced, despite assurances from councillors that potential sites had been found.

For now, Planet Ice is preparing to reopen its doors to the public on Saturday, July 25.

Heath Rogers, executive of Planet Ice, said: "Planet Ice are looking to welcoming all customers old and new back to our rinks. It’s been nearly 4 months with no skating and l would imagine the community is desperate to get back on the ice."

He said the hardest part of the last four months has been not knowing what was in store for the future.

Mr Rogers said: "The hardest part of the last few months is the uncertainty which has had an effect on the ice skating community as well as the staff."

Planet Ice has 14 rinks throughout England with public, competitive, and hockey skaters very reliant on the rinks for training and as a community hub.

Mr Rogers said the impact had been "enormous".

He said they were looking forward to reopening with a number of provisions in place.

He said: "All buildings will have additional sanitising stations, social distancing indicators in place, and a maximum capacity on the ice per building depending on rink size. We have also developed an new online booking system for Public Skating and as a business we have made the decision to move to cashless."

Basingstoke's Planet Ice will reopen to the public on July 25 from 11am until 6pm. Bookings can be made online.

Mr Rogers said: "We will be asking customers to be patience on those first opening days as we expect it to be quite busy and controlling the customer through reception, skate hire, and onto the pad, will take some time."