ICE RINK protesters gathered outside council offices last week to campaign to “save their rink” as the council pledge to include the public in future plans of leisure facilities.

On Thursday, October 14, ice rink protesters gathered an hour before councillors met in the newly-refurbished council chamber for the first time since February 2020.

As previously reported by the Gazette there have been ongoing difficulties with the West Ham Leisure Park, in particular the ice rink and Aquadrome, and the ongoing residents’ disquiet about the situation.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which owns the leisure park land, leases the ice rink to Standard Securities, who in turn have an occupational lease to Planet Ice, the operators.

The leisure park sage started with news that Standard Securities had put the lease on the market for £2.4 million.

Caroline Kelly, an ice rink protester, said: “I have been involved with the rink since it first opened.

“I used to skate, I played ice hockey myself and I worked there and now my son plays ice hockey.”

She said it would affect so many people if the ice rink was to close and many would be absolutely devastated.

Labour councillor Kim Taylor also joined in with ice rink protesters.

She said: “We have come out today to help save the ice rink and there is generally secrecy going on into what decisions are going to be made in respect to the leisure park and whether it is continuing.”

She said that it makes it very difficult for all of the business and facilities on site to know how to plan.

At a full council meeting held on Thursday, October 14 Borough councillors debated plans to involve the public in the development of a wider vision, and any specific new solutions. To ensure they get their right to have their say, by referring this issue to the CEP committee.

The council unanimously supported the motion.

Cllr Tony Jones (labour), proposing, said: "We're getting quotes about how much money we're spending and everything else, we meet people, but we don't ask the right questions.

“I'd like to visit the wards and ask ‘what do you want out of our sports and leisure’. I don't know what's happening at the leisure park and I'm a councillor, but people need to know what's going on.”

He said Basingstoke did have good sports and recreation, but it has “fallen away”.

Cllr Angie Freeman (Labour), supported the motion, she added: "This could be a great leisure destination. This could be a top-class leisure destination; we just need a bit of innovation.

“We have members of the public come up with top class ideas, it could be a jewel in Basingstoke's crown. It could be something that could be great for Basingstoke."

Cllr John Izett (Conservative), said: " I expect we'll be able to update our residents shortly.

“I support this motion and I'll act on this as I've done before. It's right our residents are involved in the future of our leisure park.”

As previously reported by the Gazette the council previously came under fire for not including updates on the ice rink and Camrose scandals.