THE taxman wants to wind up the company behind Gosport’s ice rink, The News can reveal.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) says it is owed money by Planet Ice Gosport Limited and has lodged a winding-up petition with the High Court.
Users of the ice rink, at the Holbrook site in Forest Way, say it would be a major setback if it meant the site had to close.
But The Arena Group, the company behind the Planet Ice brand, says the dispute could be resolved within the next few days.
Paul Fitzpatrick is the manager of the Solent and Gosport Devils ice hockey team, which trains and competes at the rink.
He said: ‘We would be devastated if something was to happen.
‘It would be a blow to us because we are doing really well this year.
‘I know it is a bit of an eyesore but it is our ice rink and we’re proud of it.
‘I have been involved in the club for more than 10 years and the ice rink feels like a second home sometimes.’
HMRC would not say how much it claims it is owed by the company.
A hearing is set to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on February 6.
HMRC spokeswoman Lisa Billard said: ‘HMRC cannot comment on cases due to taxpayer confidentiality.
‘Our aim is not to wind up companies or make individuals bankrupt, but to collect as efficiently as we can the debts that are due.
‘HMRC only initiates winding-up action where it believes this is the best course of action to protect the interests of the Exchequer in respect of a particular debt.
‘We do not take such action lightly.’
The petition comes as work is set to start on transforming the Holbrook site into a new multi-million pound leisure park.
A spokeswoman for The Arena Group said: ‘The action taken is with regards to the disputed assessment of unpaid taxes.
‘The board of the Arena Group UK Ltd disputes the assessment and action taken by HMRC and the likelihood is that this will be resolved within the next few days.
‘This action has no effect or impact on either the Planet Ice brand or its day-to-day operation. Planet Ice will continue to welcome patrons.’
Gosport’s ice rink was first opened to the public in 1989 and hosts an annual ice show.
Council says another company could take over
GOSPORT Borough Council says another firm has applied to take over the running of the ice rink.
The council leases the site, near the Holbrook centre in Forest Way, to The Arena Group.
But a council spokeswoman said another company has applied to take over the lease of the ice rink.
The leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, allayed fears the ice rink could close.
He said: ‘There is no reason to believe that the Gosport facility is under any threat of closure and we are assured the matter will be resolved.’
The council said the new lease application is moving forward.