THE Leisure Park as a whole is something that this council should be proud of, and it is important that this council invests and improves the facilities for the future so the proposal to rebuild a new and better Aquadrome is welcome news, as the current facility is now old and past its best.

Unfortunately, however, the ice rink is not something that this council nor our residents can be proud of.

Once a state of the art 2,000 seat ice rink that was regularly packed with eager ice hockey fans watching the Bison or Basingstoke Beavers, Now, unfortunately, the ice rink, is an embarrassment to this town.

I feel as a town we have all been let down by those legally responsible for the upkeep of the rink. Namely Planet Ice and Standard Securities who should in my opinion hold their heads in shame.

But, despite all this, local residents, ice hockey players, ice skaters of all levels and small business owners continue to flock to use the facility. Even though the toilets are disgusting, there’s uneven flooring, unsafe condemned seating, and the ice pad is frequently sub standard and unusable, - such is the popularity and business case of ice skating as a sport and leisure activity in Basingstoke.

Planet Ice and Standard Securities have a legal obligation through their lease agreements to maintain the ice rink. I believe a financial deal between the two parties was all but done, bar the ink drying on the contract, but now it seems there is no deal to facilitate the rinks refurbishment, and it is a travesty that they have not fulfilled their responsibilities.

As the freeholder of the land this council needs to hold Standard Securities and Planet Ice’s feet to the fire because of their lack of care for this popular facility, allowing it to become more and more dilapidated, they have delayed, bickered amongst themselves and given false promises for too long.

Meanwhile ice skaters and coaches are all on tenterhooks not knowing if they’ll have a rink to go to in the near future – it is causing so much stress and anxiety for all those that rely on the rink for their businesses, sport or hobby.

As councillors our first duty is to listen and care about what our residents are saying and what I have repeatedly heard from residents in my ward of Kempshott and Buckskin and in fact across the whole town is that something urgently needs to be done about the ice rink.

There is now a real opportunity and in fact a real need to look at the bigger picture. Since April 2021 Standard Securities lease allows them to apply to change the use of the building, so we need to work with and bring all relevant parties together so a resolution can be found. 

So, as a council we firstly need to hold Planet Ice and Standard Securities to account for their dereliction of duty to maintain the current ice rink, we must bring them back to the negotiating table so a financial resolution can be agreed.

But secondly, and at the same time we also need to look at whether the council can help in other ways too. We are fortunate to be a very rich borough so let's try to think outside the box, possibly with a loan to Planet Ice for the refurbishment costs or even take the blue sky approach and grab this unique opportunity and not only rebuild a new and better Aquadrome, but also incorporate into the plans a brand new ice rink that Basingstoke can be proud of again.

As a council we must listen to all our residents, we need to think big, be bold and have the conviction to invest in the town’s future leisure facilities, yes build a new and better Aquadrome, but we need and must ensure, one way or another, that we Keep Ice in Basingstoke too.

Cllr Sean Dillow

Kempshott & Buckskin Ward

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Send letters by email to or by post to Editor, Basingstoke Gazette, Absolutely Offices, Lutyens Cl, Lychpit, Basingstoke RG24 8AG.

All letters and emails must include full names and addresses (anonymous letters will not be published), although these details may be withheld from publication, on request.

Letters of 300 words or less will be given priority, although all are subject to editing for reasons of clarity, space, or legal requirements. We reserve the right to edit letters.