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Archive for the ‘Ice Rinks’ Category

A mechanical digger moved into the rink at the weekend to begin breaking up the ice at Ryde Arena. The chiller was switched off on Saturday despite an article in the IW County Press on Friday 21 October saying that it would continue to run for the next 10 weeks. Flowers were laid by skaters outside the rink on Sunday night, because Ryde ice rink is dead.

In other related and depressing news, the fabulous Wightlink Raiders ice hockey team announced this weekend that they cannot keep going. The team say on their Facebook page that: “We have been forced to make this sad decision as we cannot find enough ice time to continue functioning, and without games we cannot survive financially.” Wightlink Buccaneers, however, plan to continue.

On the up side for figure skating, Wight Jewels and the other synchronized skating teams are determined to carry on this season, travelling at super-daft times of the night and morning to train at Gosport and Bracknell. The Jewels compete for the first time this season in Cardiff on 5 and 6 November; the Crystals and Sparkles are aiming at the British championships in January 2017. The IW skating club needs to continue to support not just them but also the individuals who are travelling to Guildford rink to train. Southampton ice skating club lives on long after the loss of its rink, and so too can the IW club. While the club exists, skaters can continue on compete under the IW banner.

Internationally, the IW also has performances by Nikita Heathfield, now training in Dundee while at university, to look forward to on the junior circuit for the next two years. Plus the IW’s Gemma Marsh, carrying the torch for synchro with Sweden’s Team Surprise, six-times senior world champions.

IW-born skater Tommy-Jo Nyman – or TJ to pretty much everyone – currently features in the US Figure Skating Get Up campaign to promote ice skating: http://www.wegetup.com. TJ is 2015 US intermediate champion and 2014 US juvenile champion.

iowskaters.com will continue to report on their achievements: there may be no rink but IW skating lives on.

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Ryde Arena now has a website for the rink at www.rydearena.co.uk, complete with details of opening times (term and holiday periods) and prices.

Link: http://www.rydearena.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Rydearena

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Planet Ice announced yesterday that it is to cease operations at Ryde ice rink on 25 March. The company has been the rink’s operator since it took over from Isle of Wight Council. The council still owns the building; Planet Ice is simply the leaseholder.

Planet Ice had an obligation to run the venue as an ice rink for 15 years, after which any guarantee that it would remain an ice rink ended. That obligation runs until February 2016, according to IW Council, and the council is currently seeking clarification from Planet Ice about how it intends to keep to its obligations.

Mike Petrouis of Planet Ice has said he is prepared to talk to interested parties and to sell the remainder of the lease plus fixtures and fittings for £5. Petrouis said the rink was currently losing about £140,000 a year.

iowskaters knows of several interested parties and wishes them well in ensuring the continued operation of the Ryde rink.

The rink, of course, was in the news in January 2012 when HM Revenue and Customs issued winding up orders against eight of Arena Group’s Planet Ice rinks – Basingstoke, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Gosport, Isle of Wight, Peterborough and Hemel Hempstead – over unpaid taxes. Mike Petrouis, previous owner of the Planet Ice brand, at that time emerged as the saviour of those rinks. Of those eight, Norwich has since closed, Cardiff will close when the new winter sports village opens under a different operator (Planet Ice was dropped as a partner by the council over perceived financial concerns), and Hemel Hempstead was at risk until an active campaign saved it. Milton Keynes has benefited from extensive refurbishment as a result of work on the development of which it is part and has reopened. Gosport remains in a run-down condition with a long-promised refurbishment depending on financial support.

Planet Ice recently closed its Leisure Box ice rink in Birmingham, also citing poor financials; a planning application to turn the site into an 11-storey development of flats and shops has since been submitted. Planet Ice has twice tried and failed at the planning stage to redevelop the Ryde rink, first into a hotel and apartments, and second into a combined rink and supermarket.

There is an action group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/794820610588525/

An online petition to express support for the rink is at: https://www.change.org/p/isle-of-wight-save-our-rink

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Planet Ice has just announced on its IW Facebook page a restructuring that will save its rinks that are at risk from winding up orders from HMRC (see iowskaters.co.uk).

According to the company: “It has been confirmed that, following the administration of the Arena Group, Mr Mike Petrouis, previous owner of the Planet Ice brand, has been appointed to run the Planet Ice venues, safeguarding the jobs of the 400+ staff and ensuring the continuation of the businesses.

“Mike Petrouis has confirmed that the current Planet Ice senior management team, headed by Group Managing Director John Neville, will continue to operate the businesses as usual.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Planet Ice IW on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PlanetIceIW

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IW Radio and BBC South Today both picked up on a story run in The Sun about the threat to eight ice rinks run by Planet Ice as a result of winding up orders issued by HM Revenue and Customs.

Rinks potentially affected include the Island’s rink at Ryde, plus Basingstoke, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Gosport, Peterborough and Hemel Hempstead.

Coventry Skydome, another rink operated by Arena Group, is also the subject of a winding up order from HMRC, see: www.coventryobserver.co.uk.

According to The Sun, the Arena Group, which owns Planet Ice, has stated: “The board disputes the assessment and action taken by HMRC and the likelihood is that this will be resolved within the next few days.”

However, if action by HMRC succeeds in shutting the rinks, the southern half of the UK stands to lose most of its ice skating facilities. Unite Group, the owner of Bristol ice rink, recently announced plans to redevelop the rink as student accommodation.

Links

The Sun: http://www.thesun.co.uk/ (PDF archive of report: sun_18_01_2012)

BBC News: Bristol ice rink to be turned into student flats

Bristol rink action group: www.bristolneedsarink.com

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Plans by Planet Ice and budget supermarket operator Lidl could leave Island skaters without an ice rink for six months.

The Isle of Wight County Press today reported that Planet Ice and Lidl plan to demolish the current rink and replace it with a new food store with rink above. If the plan is approved the development could take six months to complete.

IW skaters have no viable alternative rink, and if approved the development could leave skaters without easily accessible alternative skating facilities until work is complete.

Particularly affected would be the IW’s elite skaters and British junior championship winning synchronized skating team the Wight Jewels, for whom continuity of skating is vital throughout the year.

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