Gosport council plans to spend £100,000 on ice rink refurb

Gosport Ice Rink
Gosport Ice Rink

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A COUNCIL plans to give £100,000 to fund a firm’s refurbishment of an ice rink.

Members of Gosport Borough Council will decide tomorrow if they will spend the cash on Planet Ice in Forest Way.

As previously reported in The News, the refurbishment will see a new bar, cafe and glass partition for people to see the action on the ice.

If councillors approve the plans, the cash will go toward the cost of recladding the walls and the roof.

Council papers show the scheme will cost £825,000 but John Neville, managing director at Planet Ice said the cost had not yet been finalised.

Leader of the Labour opposition, Cllr Dennis Wright has concerns over the plans.

He said: ‘If we’ve had no income from the site I do question whether we should be putting council taxpayers’ money into the improvement.

‘It might be better if the council was to give them a loan, as opposed to a grant.

‘Lots of voluntary organisations have had to suffer because of the financial and economic situation where we’re no longer giving grants.

‘I do question whether we should be giving donations to private companies.’

The plans will see the firm pay £5,000 a year in rent to the council, which owns the freehold of the land and building.

A contract clause written in 1988 that said the firm must share some of its profit with the council will now be scrapped.

Tory leader of the council Cllr Mark Hook said it had not happened and the clause is now meaningless.

He said the £100,000 will ensure the ice rink will match the new Gosport Leisure Centre and the hotel when it is built at the leisure park.

He said: ‘They originally asked for a lot more.

‘The new leisure facility is saving the taxpayer in excess of £250,000 a year.

‘The money will come in from the first year of savings made on the new facility.

‘If you’re offering an excellent leisure experience then it’s important that all the facilities you have there are of a high standard.’

The other £725,000 needed to progress with the plan will be provided by Planet Ice’s owner.