THE Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council leader has said the ongoing ice rink crisis is not easy to resolve.

Cllr Paul Harvey said the council is waiting for leaseholder Standard Securities Ltd and operator Planet Ice Basingstoke Ltd to come to a formal agreement.

“It is run as a commercial operation, not as a public service,” Cllr Harvey said.

“The council has focused on securing the future of the current facility that needs repair by getting Standard Securities and Planet Ice to come to a formal agreement about how programme of repair works that they're responsible for under the lease of the building. Now those discussions are ongoing and the parties are, I am pretty fully sure, aware of the debate that's going on around them.”

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Cllr Harvey was replying to a question asked by Cllr Sean Dillow at a full council meeting held on Thursday, March 21.

Cllr Dillow said the community is still eager to understand the current status and any progress made to resolve the impasse, with the discussions are reportedly at a standstill and there are rumours of the ice rink being imminently closed for maintenance.

However, Cllr Harvey criticised Cllr Dillow for not showing as much passion for the ice rink when Conservatives were leading the council.

“I know you've written letters, I know you've spoken in cabinet and you've reflected all of your concerns. And I know you are concerned. What I'm disappointed is that you didn't do that when your own party was running the council,” Cllr Harvey said.

In reply, Cllr Dillow asked Cllr Harvey to clarify what progress, if any has, has been made specifically since Labour councillor Cllr Alex Lee passed a motion seeking resolution for the ice rink crisis.

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Replying, Cllr Harvey said: “There are commercially sensitive conversations taking place between parties that hold the lease of these buildings. I am not going to get in the way of those commercially sensitive conversations this evening by making a public statement.”

The council leader also thanked the officers for working with the companies.

“At the end of the day, they need to come to an agreement with a very clear work programme for the repairs to the ice rink. And that's the magic ticket, isn't it? The idea of having repairs to the ice rink, or a Plan B.”