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Ryde Arena listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’

The successful application means that Ryde Arena is now listed as an Asset of Community Value and can’t be disposed of without giving community groups a chance to bid for it.

Ryde Arena - a nice ice rink

A nomination by the Ryde Arena Community Action Group for Ryde Arena to be listed as an Asset of Community Value has been successful.

The building on Ryde esplanade, the former home of the Island’s only ice rink, was nominated under the ‘Community Right to Bid’ part of the Localism Act.

Now listed, the owner (Isle of Wight Council owns the freehold, AEW/BNY Mellon is the leaseholder) is not able to “dispose” of it (including a sale or a lease of 25 or more years) until a chance has been given for interested community groups to bid for it. At the point the owner declares an intention to sell, community groups have six weeks in order to bid for the property.

Delighted at the news
Robina Marshall, co-chair of the RACAG, told OnTheWight,

“The Ryde Arena Community Action Group is delighted at the news that the Isle of Wight council have taken positive action to protect Ryde Arena and the future of skating on the Isle of Wight. We owe a great deal to the hard work of Lisa Williams in preparing this application.

“In a climate where sports facilities and places of recreation are regularly under threat from development, it is good to know that the Isle of Wight Council recognise that there are profits and costs to a community which are not merely financial. This is not yet a victory and does not secure the rink but it is a big move in the right direction. We believe that the recognition of the importance of skating to the Isle of Wight and the remarkable talent of our youth in this area is something that all political parties on the Island will support in the forthcoming elections.

“By seizing the rink as they did without warning AEW tried to kill the dreams of our young people and the wider community but so far they have failed. With lots of very early morning starts and off ice practice our teams remain strong and have continued to enjoy success in competitions off the Island. They have shown that they will not give up. We as a community must not give up our fight to save the rink for future generations so that they too can have the opportunities that have meant so much to so many.”

Closure first announced in 2015
In February 2015, Planet Ice announced they would be closing the rink.

However, by April of the same year a community group had come together to keep the ice rink going.

It remained open for 18 months, continuing to provide an indoor facility for Islanders and visitors to enjoy, as well as a training base for ice hockey teams and figure skaters.

Locks changed by bailiffs
Sadly, by October 2016 the group running the ice rink said the landlord, AEW/BNY Mellon, had “no interest” in allowing them to run the facilities on a not-for-profit basis. The roof coming off in November caused further financial problems and after bailiffs changed the locks without any notice, Ryde Arena Ltd announced they were going into liquidation.

Ryde Arena Community Action Group purchased all of Ryde Arena Limited’s assets, including the ice machine.

The fight continues
There is still a strong desire to see the ice rink return to the Isle of Wight.

As well as being home to several ice hockey teams, it was also home to five synchronised skating teams. Four of those teams are competing in the British Nationals this weekend and have been having to travel over to the mainland in order to train.

All of the teams and figures skaters that compete represent the Isle of Wight when they do so and could really do with the support of the Island.

We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.

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Wednesday, 11th January, 2017 5:27pm



Filed under: Community, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Island-wide, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Top story, Tourism

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  1. Could depend on how much damage has been done to the structure by turning off the cooling plant.

  2. I am glad this has been done and hope a community group can put an offer in as it is worth saving. If a group does come forward they need to make sure a robust business plan is put together which also takes into account of emergencies that come up. This is what I feel the last group was let down by they had good intentions but that is not enough on its own it also needs a strong plan.

  3. Mason Watch

    11.Jan.2017 8:08pm

    The problem is going to be deterioration of the structure. Even in the last couple of months it’s becoming quite noticeable if you walk round the perimeter. The biggest issue is income as it always has been…… What use can it be put too? The ice rink is not sustainable so I would be interested to hear about future developments

  4. island rink

    11.Jan.2017 9:25pm

    not trying to upset or annoy anyone but let’s get real here , the rink is run down , everytime I want in to skate a few young staff members were glued to there phone’s not helping customers ,the owner has lost loads of money , who wants to lose loads of money just because the skaters think that they have the right to stand there saying it’s out rink , no profit get it turned into something good

  5. profoundlife

    11.Jan.2017 10:38pm

    A sustainable ice rink has been and should be plan A. Even if it was rent free, would that be possible? I don’t know, but then I don’t know what else you could use the place for – community sports hall? Would conversion costs be justified?

    Might be my lack of imagination, but I can’t see what else you’d use it for – it’s not going to be exclusive apartments, certainly.

  6. Ice rinks don’t make enough money to stand on their own in this country. Like many other businesses though, they do make a substantial amount on the catering. This was an important part of the last business plan which was unable to happen because the landlord refused for whatever reason to refurbish the catering area and bar after the storm ripped off the roof.

    The arena is in a prime seafront position and the original build missed a trick by not making use of the spectacular panoramic views across the Solent for the bar and catering.

    With a bit of thought and a pro-active management, there is no reason why the arena couldn’t function as a going concern.

    Ice rinks up and down the country face differing fates. Grimsby has just closed their rink. The council that closed Romford’s rink four years ago has invested £25 million in a brand new multi-discipline leisure centre on the site including an ice rink which will soon be open. Milton Keynes had a massive upgrade not long ago. So it can be done.

    The IWC has just started on a multi-million pound re-generation programme. If ever there was an area that needed re-generation, then the Arena seafront at the gateway to the Island is it. As the freeholder, the council needs to step up and give the people of the Island a facility to of which to be proud. Medina Council did so in the 90’s with the original build. Put some of the Asda millions to a solid bricks and mortar use instead of frittering it away on consultants and fanciful eco schemes that willl never give a return.

    • OK but let’s get real. There is not enough demand for an ice rink so a multi purpose arena may be a possibility. However, that might prove too costly in preserving the ice platform – I don’t know. What is certain is that there is insufficient demand for the ice rink and it would only be a drain on funding.

  7. @ dave

    I’m not sure where you are getting your info about not enough demand.

    The rink was used by 3 senior teams and 3 junior teams for ice-hockey and training; the formation ice teams of varying ages plus countless ice dancers and for lessons for all abilities. Then there is the general public, for public skating and various discos.

    Yes there were times during the day when there were very few skaters in. However the demand was definitely there.

    What wasn’t there was the bar and catering which makes up for the shortfall in income at every rink up and down the country.

    Properly run, there would be no drain on “funding”

  8. Have a look at recent weekend success for the synchro teams at the British Championships.


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