THE leader of the Labour group in Basingstoke has called on the council to ‘stop making excuses’ over the future of the town’s ice rink.

As previously reported by the Gazette, there is anger among residents after the ongoing repair issues at the Leisure Park venue did not appear on the agenda for this evening’s meeting of the council’s Community, Environment and Partnerships (CEP) committee.

Sally Cashman, chair of the Ice Rink Users' Forum, told The Gazette: "I am extremely disappointed that issues surrounding the ice rink are not on the agenda for the CEP meeting on 28th July.

"The last update at the CEP meeting was in March, the meeting in June was cancelled, the next meeting after July is September.

"I know these are difficult times for local councils but this does not mean they can ignore this long-standing issue and once again push it in to the long grass, hoping that the ice users will just go away.

"Well, we will not go away, we will not give up."

Council leader Ken Rhatigan responded to concerns by saying that there are “no updates” on the situation at the moment, adding: “We are using every means possible to press Standard Securities and Planet Ice to carry out the repairs that they are responsible for under the ice rink lease.”

However, Cllr Andy McCormick (Labour, Brighton Hill), a former CEP committee member, has told the Gazette he would like to see more than words from the administration on this issue.

“The ice rink users deserve better. They need a new rink. All they have had is two or three years of excuses,” he said.

“I expect the council leader, cabinet portfolio holders and chief executive to be on this, to keep pressure on it.”

Reacting to Cllr Rhatigan’s comments, he continued: “Have they even tried? Have they even spoken to them for the past few months?”

Cllr McCormick added that the council faces multiple “crises” currently, and must act now.

“We have half a dozen crises simultaneously,” he said.

As well as the ice rink, he said that the town centre’s empty shops, the aquadrome, the football club, the future of the Anvil and Haymarket, the Basing View project and Manydown are all issues in need of addressing.

He said: “All they are doing is making cuts and making excuses, and it's all piling up.

“Actions speak louder than words.”