News - Update on Permanent Ice Skating Facilities at Kings Park, Bournemouth

NEW - 7th March 2013 // UPDATED - 24th April 2013 // UPDATED - 14th October 2013 // UPDATED - 31st October 2013 // UPDATED - 22nd January 2014
UPDATED - 7th March 2014 // UPDATED - 10th December 2014 // UPDATED - 20th February 2015 // UPDATED - 2nd June 2015

UPDATED - 2nd June 2015
UPDATED - 20th February 2015

E-mail Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker
20th February 2015
RE: Today Cabinet meeting, report 5 Town centre vision

Roger.

Am slightly at a loss on the description of the Leisure box as potential use as an ice rink, in the outline submission approved in September 2014 it was "comprising a range of leisure uses i.e ice rink, leisure complex and family space/or cinema," also more detail info was that 46m x 26 m ice skating rink with tiered seating, fully appreciate this was all flexible but it showed how such could then accommodate a range of leisure uses, and know it would all be subject to finding a developer/operator.

Then main thrust of any planning application HAS TO BE AROUND LEISURE and not so much on residential, as pointed out in the papers to the board that the floor area of amount of residential had been reduced and leisure uses were more significant in the scheme, LET PLEASE FORGET THE CINEMA ASPECT WITH THE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT [PROPOSED ODEAN CINEMA].

Yes Bournemouth Development company might be looking at various options for the whole site, WE HAVE NOW ONLY ONE CHANCE HERE TO GET THIS SCHEME RIGHT, so although won't be on the board, will hopefully have other members who will ensure this town secures a permanent base for this ice rink within any application, previously supported by the planning board in September 2014.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail Reply from Roger Ball - Director, Environment and Regeneration Services, Bournemouth Council
19th February 2015
RE: Today Cabinet meeting, report 5 Town centre vision

Dear Councillor Whittaker,

Thank you for your e-mail.

The planning application recently submitted by the owner of adjoining land includes a leisure box with potential use as an ice rink.

The problem with that is that it's easy for them to include such a commitment when they don't own the site. Indeed it could be seen to be in their interest to do so because if the site is valued on the basis of such inclusion they may think they could buy it more cheaply.

Whether they would then proceed with a development including one is debateable.

The Bournemouth Development Company are now looking at various options for the whole site among which will be schemes including leisure facilities. This will help the Council determine what is the best mix of uses and whether an ice rink is an appropriate constituent.

The widespread support for an ice rink is very much appreciated and whilst we all know that such a facility will require significant capital and/or revenue subsidy I know this is something many would support. Hopefully the work over the next few months will help us quantify exactly what the financial implications are and an informed decision can then be made.

I will, of course continue to keep you informed of any significant developments.

With regards,
Roger Ball
Director, Environment and Regeneration Services, Bournemouth Council

E-mail from Councillor Ron Whittaker to Roger Ball - Director, Environment and Regeneration Services, Bournemouth Council
11th February 2015
Today Cabinet meeting, report 5 Town centre vision

Roger.

Attended today as I do most cabinet attended meetings to follow though the numerous reports, more so today with the details of the various documents that contain a lot of financial details, here I raised with the cabinet on the town centre vision business plan page showing Appendices [no page number] that of the Winter Gardens showing summery of the BDC BUSINESS PLAN 2015/16 which refers to mix uses comprising of residential and active leisure etc. That fine only then looking at the following INDICATIVE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME APPENDIX A. It shows under the Bournemouth development company INDICATIVE programmes, hence Winter Gardens, feasibility 2015, then planning application 2015/16 with then construction 2016/2018.

NOW MY POINT IN RAISING ALL OF THIS IS as you know planning was granted in September 2014. Such was granted showing outline of submission. Within that was a detail report from our planning officers show that the amount of residential use had been reduced and Leisure are now more significant in the scheme SAME TIME THE APPLICANT HAD TAKEN ON OUR WISHES FOR THIS SCHEME TO SHOW ICE SKATING RINK WITH TIERED SEATING.

YES one appreciate that then no detail of firm proposal of developers / operators, and it was subject to then applicant to talk / megotiate a financial package with the Council as they only have the various properties abutting the site in their ownership that IS ALL APPREICATED, but as you know with the likely none start sadly to our 8 years campaign to secure the Ice Stadium at Kings Park by Burnham [Bournemouth Sports Leisure Ltd] who have announced that they are not at this stage entering into any commitment due to the financing difficulties etc, yes a blow after so many years of endless ongoing campaigning and hard work by myself and others.

NOW HERE I MAKE THIS PLEA TO THE LEADER AND WHO EVER RUNS THIS AUTHORITY AFTER MAY THAT the Bournemouth development company ENSURE AND PLANNING APPLICATION OR BRIEF has that commitment to secure within any development on the Winter Gardens - indoor ice facilities.

Roger this is now likely to be my near last words on ice skating facilities so desperately needed in the town. So let's ensure that the Bournemouth Development company can HONOUR THAT COMMITMENT FOR A PERMENANT FACLITY IN THIS TOWN.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

UPDATED - 10th December 2014

COUNCIL MEETING - 9 DECEMBER 2014

General Question to the Leader of the Council:

"Can the Leader or portfolio holder please give Members any update in any possible progress on the plans long drawn out for the Ice Stadium at Kings Park, as to how talks/discussions/negotiations are proceeding with the only now one developer/operation who has show interest since early 2006, and if any firm proposals will be forthcoming in 2015?"

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Beesley:

The question follows on from a number of earlier questions relating to the development of an Ice Stadium at King’s Park. We have of course delivered on our promise to secure an outline planning consent for such a facility on land provided by the Council, but what the development lacks is any market interest to fund such a scheme. I suspect that this is because it is not currently viable or would not offer a satisfactory return to investors.

Burnham Leisure Ltd under its special purpose vehicle 'Bournemouth Sport and Leisure Ltd' requested an exclusivity agreement to give it an opportunity to work up a development proposal. The decision notice approving a 12 month exclusivity agreement was published in the Councillor Information Bulletin on 18th July 2014.

To date, Bournemouth Sport and Leisure have not entered into the exclusivity agreement.

This is of course very disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, given the current funding challenges presented by leisure projects, particularly those based on water or ice. We will continue to pursue every opportunity for an ice facility on the site at King’s Park, or even elsewhere, but the Council cannot buck the market in terms of the ability for such a scheme to attract funding in the current market.

I share the frustration of many residents but repeat my message, that if Cllr Whittaker, or indeed any Member, has something to suggest which will help to move the development forward then I should be very pleased to listen to any ideas. In the meantime, I shall continue to work with the Portfolio Holder and the Officers to try to move matters forward.

Cllr John Beesley
9 December 2014

UPDATED - 7th March 2014

COUNCIL MEETING - 4 MARCH 2014

General Question to the Leader of the Council:

Leader, over a number of years going back to the days of Roger Brown in 2006 and trying to meet the 5 Parks Act, overcoming many hurdles, in view of the recent communication from the Chairman of Burnham Development who has set out very clearly their position for Kings Park, as this Council is in discussions with another party, can one please ask that a decision is made one way or another as soon as possible? Please see below comments from Mr. J. Cresswell.

"Dear Ron,

I have before me a copy of the Bournemouth Advertiser for 16th January saying you were going to press the Council for some decision on the Kings Park Ice Rink. I don't recall any result from that - did I blink, or is it going to be one of issues that gets kicked around until it is lost?

I'm not a skater myself, but as a local historian on entertainment issues, I appreciate the value of good facilities. I lived for some time in Streatham, South London, where similar issues raged. I understand the Council there have relented into re-instating skating. Is there hope for Bournemouth?!

I have compiled a short history of skating in Bournemouth which I intend to offer the Echo for inclusion in their 'Echoes' section. Hopefully, knowing what we have lost locally might act as some sort of rallying cry. I have still some facts I would like to verify, but I attach the piece for any comments you may care to add.

Good luck on all your campaigning."

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Beesley:

As Council will be aware from the answer I gave to Council on 21 January, Officers have again been in discussions with an ice rink operator for some time. However, seasonal ice skating at the Bournemouth International Centre is affecting the financial viability of a new facility at Kings Park.

Whilst the Council continues to fully support the provision of a new ice facility in Kings Park, we need to ensure that the chosen development partner has a deliverable business model.

Officers are aware of the continued interest from Burnham Development Somerset Ltd and their requirement for an exclusivity agreement and this has been confirmed to me in correspondence with their Chairman. However, before we consider this, it is of course only proper and businesslike that matters are concluded with the current party first.

Cllr John Beesley
4 March 2014

UPDATED - 22nd January 2014

COUNCIL MEETING - 21st JANUARY 2014

General Question to the Leader of the Council:

'Could please the Leader give Members and skaters any update on the company who one was told at the Council meeting on the 29 October 2013 had come forward expressing and interest in developing and operating ice facilities at Kings Park?

With sadly the withdrawal of Burnham and the seven years and longer that this Council has promised its commitment to this project, can Members have some indication if this company are serious in discussions and when can we have firm proposals to their plans?'

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Beesley:

'The Council is committed to working with the private sector to provide a new, permanent ice facility for Bournemouth. The Council honored its promise and land at King's Park was earmarked as a suitable site for this development. Subsequently the Council secured outline planning permission in October 2010.

Unfortunately, it has been difficult to attract a suitable developer/operator in the current economic climate and no bids were received following marketing of the site up to March 2012, despite a number of expressions of interest. The Council has subsequently been working with interested parties who have expressed a desire to develop this facility, but unfortunately these discussions have not yet resulted in a viable proposal.

More recently, I can confirm that Council Officers have had an initial meeting with an ice rink operator and whilst early indications are positive, we do not know when, or indeed if, they will be coming forward with firm proposals.

Whilst the Council continues to fully support the provision of a new ice facility in King's Park, we need to understand that we are dependent upon a commercial operator coming forward with a viable proposal. At a time when the Council's finances are under severe pressure, we need to ensure that any proposals are economically viable and can be developed and operated without Council subsidy.

I continue to share Cllr Whittaker's frustration, and Council will recall that I answered similar questions from him at Council in March, April and October last year. The situation has not changed. As I said on the last occasion in October, our frustration is in the continuing difficulty in finding a developer who can finance an ice facility in King's Park. However, the fact that we are still attempting to find a suitable party to work with should offer some encouragement to all those who would like to see this facility in Bournemouth.

I repeat my request that any ideas that Cllr Whittaker can offer to help the Council to achieve this would be very welcome.'

Cllr John Beesley
21 January 2014

UPDATED - 31st October 2013

COUNCIL MEETING - 29th OCTOBER 2013

General Question to the Leader of the Council:

'Can Members please be told now as to where does this outline planning application stand for the long planned/awaited ice rink stadium at Kings Park now that Burnham Developments have withdrawn, and the former chairman of AFC Bournemouth, Eddie Mitchell, has stepped down, knowing that in January this year he was quoted as saying "offer to kick start the scheme"?

Officers were to meet on the 18th this month with the Football Club to discuss their plans for the ice stadium. Can Members now be given a full update as to any progress at this meeting with AFC, as I was told last time I raised this that, "I need to remain patient for a little while longer"? I think SEVEN years since the original motion (2006) by Councillor Chris Mayne and myself is patient enough.'

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Beesley:

'AFC Bournemouth has advised the Council that they will not be progressing their proposals for an ice stadium at Kings Park. However, another company has recently come forward expressing an interest in developing and operating an ice facility and Council Officers have begun discussions with them. It is far too early to say whether these discussions will result in a proposal coming forward but I can assure the Council that we shall use every endeavour to bring this development about.

I share Cllr Whittaker's frustration in the continuing difficulty in finding a developer who can finance an ice facility in King's Park, but the fact that we are still attempting to find a suitable party to work with should offer some encouragement to all those who would like to see this facility in Bournemouth.

Any ideas that Cllr Whittaker can offer to help the Council in this process would be very welcome.'

Cllr John Beesley
29 October 2013

UPDATED - 24th April 2013

COUNCIL MEETING - 23rd APRIL 2013

General Question to the Leader of the Council:

'Further to my last question at Council, matters seemed to have moved somewhat forward with the second party who had not then met the end of February to put forward their proposals. I understand that they now have been invited and allowed additional time for their commitment to this long drawn out project for our Ice Rink/Stadium at King Park and are working up their proposal for submission within 6 months. Can the Leader then please confirm how this now affects the other party to which I understand they are also meeting?'

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Beesley:

'As Cllr Whittaker will be aware from the answers I have given him on the subject of the proposed ice stadium in the past and from his recent correspondence with Officers, there is a real determination to pursue every opportunity to see this development come about.

The Council has done everything it said it would to commence and follow through with the process, but like so many proposed leisure developments throughout the country we are in the hands of the market and the ability of the private sector to find the resources to go forward. Bournemouth is therefore in the same position as the rest of the UK, but is very well placed once bank and other funding is more freely available to developers.

In terms of progress since the answer I gave to Council on 5 March, Officers are currently in discussions with two interested parties and endeavouring to find a way forward that will give both parties sufficient assurances to enable them to undertake additional work to advance their proposals.

Only when Officers see these proposals will they be able to make recommendations to Members on the viability of any schemes that come forward. I shall continue to press for greater and faster progress, but I suspect that we shall need to remain patient for a little while longer.'

Cllr John Beesley
23 April 2013

NEW - 7th March 2013

COUNCIL MEETING - 5th MARCH 2013

General Question to the Leader of the Council

'Can please the Leader give this Council any likely updates on how if any progress is being made to secure permanent ice skating facilities at Kings Park which was granted outline approval in 2010, after searching for town centre sites in 2007/8 where no interest was shown by any prospect leisure developer/operator?

Would the Leader confirm when will the two developers who have declared their interest will be summiting their proposals, as we go back to 2006 when this Council supported as a priority permanent ice facilities within the Borough?

Finally can the Leader please in the meantime seek to negotiate with BH Live to secure temporary ice facilities within the BIC until this town can secure the return of permanent ice skating when clearly the skating figures for the year's temporary ice rink has proved overwhelming the support for this permanent facility?'

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Beesley:

'Extensive advertising of the opportunity to develop an ice rink at Kings Park was undertaken, but the Council did not receive any tenders. After the tender closing date, interest was received from a developer and we have been in discussion with them about the possibility of an exclusivity period to enable them to progress their scheme. A second party has also recently declared their interest and they were given until the end of February to put forward their proposals. No such information was received.

I can confirm that BH Live will have temporary ice skating facilities within the BIC over the next Christmas period and in addition, I understand that the Town Centre BID is exploring with the Lower Central Gardens Trust the possibility of repeating the temporary ice rink that was provided in the Gardens at the end of last year. This was of course very popular during the recent Christmas period.

With regard to the provision of temporary ice skating facilities all year round at the BIC, this is ultimately a matter for BH LIVE, the Trust which operates those facilities. I am sure that if they can see a commercial opportunity they will not pass it by without close examination and I shall therefore ask Officers to make them aware of your suggestion. I can imagine however that other uses for conferences, exhibitions, performance and function space throughout the year would make this difficult to programme from a trading perspective and any additional long term subsidy required would be hard for the Council to justify in the current financial climate.'

Cllr John Beesley
5 March 2013