THE ice skating community turned out in force to oppose a price hike in rent charges for coaches using the area’s only ice rink.
Armed with posters and medals, skaters and their parents held a demonstration yesterday to show the owners of Planet Ice, in Forest Way, Gosport how important the coaches are to the young skaters.
It was great to see everyone come together to show their supportVictoria Morgan
As previously reported in The News, a row has erupted between the firm and the coaches after the price to rent the ice more than doubled.
A lot of the coaches are unhappy with the new deal and parents of skaters who use the rink are concerned for their future.
Victoria Morgan, from Lee-on-the-Solent, was at the demonstration as her three children skate at Planet Ice.
She said: ‘As a parent, I was disappointed when Planet Ice made their decision about the prices. It’s just tearing the rink apart and the kids are in tears thinking they are going to lose their coaches.
‘It was great to see everyone come together to show their support and as a community, we get on so well and have such a great rapport.
‘It is fantastic that we can show this when our coaches need it and I think they appreciate it, too.
‘I just hope Planet Ice reconsider because for such a small rink, we have got some real talent in Gosport.’
One of the skaters at the demonstration, who did not want to be named, said the turnout was good.
‘Considering it’s a bank holiday weekend, a lot of people gathered to show their support to the coaches,’ she said.
‘I think it was important for Planet Ice to see how many people the rent increase affects and we are all concerned about the future and what happens if they decide to increase the prices again.’
Parents and skaters are concerned for their future at the rink after Planet Ice announced the weekly rate for coaches to rent the ice would go from £122 a week to £250.
They said the lower price was a subsidy with the coaches and business having an agreement that in-house skating programmes would be taught by the private coaches.
But Heath Rhodes, a director at Planet Ice, said the arrangement had ‘stopped working’.
He added enough hours were available for coaches to use the ice for their lessons and they are now paying the coaches to teach their group sessions which they used to do for free.