Island MP Bob Seely speaks passionately in Parliament about the actions of AEW

Bob Seely MP has been a strong supporter of our cause from the beginning and in 2017 he arranged a meeting with AEW to try to resolve the issue which clearly left him with a negative impression of the company.

 

Bob recently wrote to us saying:

 

"I support the proposal to bring Ryde Arena back into use as an ice rink and I thank the Ryde Arena Community Action Group for their campaigning on this issue. An ice rink on the Island is needed for our young people. It would give them somewhere to socialise and the opportunity to learn a new skill. An Island rink would also negate the need for our young skaters to leave the Island to train and compete.

"This building should remain a leisure facility for use by the local community and should not be left to decay. I will continue support the campaign for this."

Isle of Wight Elections

6th of May 2021

Where do the Candidates Stand?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives and further complicated the situation for us. The planning permission for the Smallbrook site came with a list of conditions, many of which can only be addressed by the council. Meanwhile the Ryde Arena building sits derelict and empty, an insult to our our skaters, hockey players and fans. More than ever we need a council which will take action to help our community! We are challenging everyone running in this election to let us know how they intend to support us in getting Ice back on the Isle of Wight.

Here are the responses so far (in alphabetical order):

Message from Steph Burgess–  

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Cowes South and Northwood

As a teenager I learnt to skate in Ryde Arena and watching it decay, knowing that so many of our youngsters are missing out, has been so sad. 


The courage and determination of those athletes who have continued their training by travelling over to the mainland is admirable and it is about time we stood up for them, and rewarded their dedication. 

There is still a dearth of facilities for youngsters on the Island so I am 100% behind anything that gets skating back on the Island for our future Torvilles and Deans!

Message from Jonathan Bacon–  

Our Island Candidate for Brading and St Helens

Personally and on behalf of the Our Island group of candidates I pledge to support whatever actions are practical and possible to bring an active Ice Rink back to the Isle of Wight.

 

The current situation is wholly unsatisfactory. There is a lack of information to properly assess what can best be done to take things forward. However, all of us in the Our island group will actively support any steps to find a way forward and will pursue any measures that can be taken to bring this key facility back into active operation.

 

We want to get the Ice Rink back

Message from Vanessa Churchman–  

Conservative Candidate for Haylands and Swanmore

As the ward councillor I fought to get planning permission for the ice rink to go to Smallbrook. I managed to persuade the Planning Com to give it outline planning permission last year but Covid has stalled most things. However after the election we can move forward.

Message from Ian Dore–  

Independent Candidate for Binstead and Fishbourne

I am in total favour of supporting the Ice Rink get back on its skates, ( see what I did there?? ) to watch the Raiders in action again and see new, exciting talent come through would be absolutely superb.

 

 
I personally enjoyed a number of DJ gigs at the venue and as a social hub for other events, it is sorely missed. For many, the Ice Arena was part of the fabric of our up bringing. It’s frankly a travesty how it has come to this point. This debacle has been going on for years and the net result is a massive loss to the Community and the Island as a whole.

 

Looking at the future, how this couldn’t be seen as a ‘strategic facility’ by the Local Authority is beyond me. It’s clear from local support and the loss that it’s something that is needed. The current building has been allowed to fester and is probably almost at the point of no return. The Council walked away from the legal battle because of cost and that is disappointing.


However, for balance, there also has to be the consideration of cost to the tax payer, factoring in the likelihood of winning and how much would be needed to reinstate it. Regardless though, they are going to have to address the location and land at some point, so it’s an issue that is not going to go away.

 

I really have no desire to make this political but I think its worth noting, the Conservative candidate running in the same Ward as me ( Binstead and Fishbourne ), has not put himself forward for Ryde Town Council. This could be considered by some as a lack of interest and real commitment to the issues in Ryde. Perhaps a reflection of the view of the current administration, in the context of this matter.

 

 From what I understand, the existing owners want to change it to a retail outlet and are simply holding on until the Council give in. The owners allowed the building to become unfeasible to run as an Ice Rink and in short, were never interested in it becoming a rink again. That in itself is despicable and the fight should be fought in some way, shape or form.

 

Sadly with the monies involved and the state of the building, plus shoe horning it from the owners. I don’t see it being resolved anytime soon. So you potentially have two options, spend a shed load of money on legal costs, or accept that it’s time to look at Smallbrook as a new location and start afresh.


I am aware that a private individual has obtained conditional planning permission for a new leisure centre with a rink to be built there and its a cracking idea. Multi-purpose and still within the community. Win Win.

 

One of the issues is that their proposed contribution falls short of what would be needed, leaving grants one of the only options to fulfil the project.
Perhaps one of the conditions of the planning should be for the private individual to pony up the doh to make it a realistic proposal?

 

There is much to discuss and if I was in office, discuss it I would.

Message from Pauline Evans–  

Our Island Candidate for Sandown South

I have used the rink personally, before it’s shut down and would like to again, with my grandsons in the future. It was a great concert venue, a great social core in which to meet, relax and enjoy down-time or, to conveniently hold a business meeting with someone from the mainland, then spend a few hours with that person, enjoying a bit of the island. 

 

My background largely is in the leisure industry where I managed a leisure centre which consisted of wet and dry facilities. Over the decades I spent in the leisure industry, I saw first-hand, how the benefit of recreational pastime has such a positive impact on people generally, but most poignantly – on young people. As adults we know the value of having a balanced work/home life. Why should it be any different for our young community, whos’ need to let off steam and tap into their creative self, is critical.  

 

The importance of leisure facilities being offered to the whole community is of significant consideration for me and, as I speak also for Our Island, our approach to ensuring there is a balance of recreational activities for the whole community is at the forefront of our planning principles. 

 

It is a travesty that large numbers of committed young people are having to travel to the mainland via their own costs, in time, energy and finances, in order to practice. Ice skating is an art discipline and as such, should be treated as such by the provision of a safe, secure and well-equipped base for such dedicated athletes. And, for the use of all islanders alike. 

 

Should the new administration be within our grasp, Our Island will set about rectifying all the unreasonable and unnecessary burdens the island has had to endure throughout the current administrations’ faux pas’.

Message from Andrew Garratt–  

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Parkhurst and Hunnyhill

It is clear that there is immense support for your campaign group's objectives, both generally among Isle of Wight residents and across the political spectrum. The leisure, sporting, and economic benefits mean there is a strong case for all to work together to get real action that ensures that ice skating facilities are available again on the Island.

Message from Mike Hailston–  

Our Island Candidate for Shanklin South

I would like to state that in no uncertain terms I am fully supportive in sorting out the future of the Ice Rink in Ryde for the benefit of the community and all those who wish to use it now and in the future. I can’t express how vital facilities like this are to the island as a whole, not just Ryde. I know Jonathan Bacon has given a statement of support from Our Island which is on your website but I also felt that you should know that if successful I will do everything we can to return the facility back into what it was intended for, somewhere for everyone to enjoy and make use of. 

Message from Paul Hampton–  

Green Party Candidate for Ryde Apple and Elmfield

I can assure you that, along with my Green Party colleagues, I share your in your determination to either reopen the Ryde Arena or to provide a new replacement in a suitable location. The provision of an Ice Rink is essential for the Isle of Wight particularly because not only it was an integral part of the sporting and casual Island life but to have the facility removed with little or no notice was reprehensible.

 

Should I be elected on the 6th May I will do all I can to persuade the IoW Council to give your project real traction, to fully commit to making it a reality and to confirm what is known by all Islanders, that it is a much needed strategic facility.

 

We also have to be realistic and accept that whatever Party controls the Council will largely determine the future of your aspirations and this May 6th gives Islanders the opportunity to bring about the change that is needed. Little has been achieved since 2016 by the ruling group and the Green Party is best placed to move your project forward being the only real alternative to the status quo who will continue to kick the can down the road.

 

The Isle of Wight Greens have already declared their unequivocal support for the restoration of an Ice Rink and with your support, and your votes, we believe we can make decisions for the benefit of all Islanders and their environment. 

Message from Jenny Hicks–  

Island Independent Network Candidate for Sandown South

I love sport and my children and grandchildren ice skate in Berkshire.

 

The loss of this facility has been dire for the Island and I hope a new rink can be pushed for many to enjoy.

 

With sporting facilities lacking, this is another loss for the people of Isle of Wight.

 

Message from Ed Hopper –  

Conservative Party County Council Candidate for Binstead and Fishbourne

I am certainly supportive of schemes which would bring an ice skating facility back to the Island and was excited to read about the proposals at Smallbrook in the County Press and online when it was being considered as an outline consent by the IWC Planning Committee.

 

If elected, one of the first things I will request from Council Officers will be a full briefing on what the Council is going to do to support getting an ice skating facility back for Islanders. 

Message from Phil Jordon –  

County Council Candidate for Ryde North West

Our Ryde Ryde Town Council Candidate for Ryde North West

 

Like many others in our community, I was astonished and saddened when the ice rink was forced to close in 2016.  The loss to all the users of the ice rink and to the wider community was enormous and heart wrenching.  This wonderful asset for the town of Ryde had become an emblem of the failures of councils and private owners to safely secure the sustainable existence of the ice rink and the outcome of that impacting and affecting many lives.

I believe there is a desire and genuine need for an ice rink in Ryde and I believe we should do all we can to ensure we provide one for our community as soon as possible.

I am personally committed to working towards that end and I will be doing all I can to drive forward with the help and assistance as a local Ryde Councillor to find a way and a solution to this pressing situation.

To that end, I have contacted the agent who is handling the sale/Lease of the building and opened a line of discussion to see if there are opportunities and possibilities to acquire the building for community use and return ice skating to it.

Unless we can find another solution in Ryde for ice skating my view is we can and should also explore the existing building for possible acquisition – perhaps under a property partnership or Trust – to see if there is a potential future pathway to restore ice skating through this building in Ryde.

Much has been held up with the building due to the recent ‘legal’ process of commercial mediation but since the closure of those discussions and the knowledge that the building is free of any obligated leisure encumbrance and the IWC have accepted the outcome of the proceedings the building is once again up for Lease and/or sale.   I do think the time is right to renew the determination to take back control over the building and I am working towards establishing a viable stakeholder partnership that could entertain the possibility of acquisition and start the process of a firm project to bring this building back into use as an ice rink. 

The owners must be ready and realistic about what is possible and what the current value of the building is but until we open the channels of contact – as I have done already – we are not clear about what the scale and cost of the project might look like. 

I know RACAG have unflinchingly battled over the past five years and more to restore ice skating in Ryde and they are shining beacons of hope and light in our town and community and I celebrate and applaud their work, dedication, and commitment.  We must turn that into wider community engagement and support and create a definite project and plan to turn all this work into a successful conclusion.    It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen in a short space of time but happen we can agree is something we can all aspire to.

My own commitment, alongside many others, is to make this a priority for Ryde, for our community, for the children who have lost so much and for users and attendees alike and to do all I can personally to make this project real.  To help deliver it.   With  help and support as a community, as an Island community and as those interested in making a difference, we can achieve our aims and bring back an ice rink to Ryde.  Let post covid regeneration become very real and very transforming and let it bring an ice rink back.

Message from Michael Lilley –  

Mayor of Ryde and Councillor Candidate for Ryde Appley and Elmfield

 

Support future Olympic Champion Skaters, Ice-Hockey Players and Skateboarders!

 

I personally believe that Ryde has the possibility through a Ryde Ice Rink and a Ryde Skateboard Park we could have future World and Olympic champions from future generations. We need to believe and invest in a post-Covid19 world in our young people’s aspirations and potential. We owe them that commitment. 

 

I wish to send a message to all members of RACAG that I have and will be totally committed to seeing an Ice Rink in Ryde reopen in the next 4 years whether at Ryde Arena or at Smallbrook Stadium. The last year has seen our whole lives and the lives of our children change with Covid19 but out of this IW Skaters are getting back to training on the mainland. In the last 4 years the IW skaters and ice hockey players have persevered and in my eyes real heroines and heroes. We need to get back post-Covid19 to reignite the fight to get Ryde’s Ice Rink back and reopened. 

 

The current situation as I see it is:

 

  1. Ryde Arena – IW Council legal action failed and AEW and IW Council are now not in talks. I have requested an up-to-date report on what the IW Council plans for the Arena and the Esplanade. Ryde Town Council and I want to see Ryde Arena, Esplanade, Ryde Skateboard Park, Harbour, Eastern Gardens, Canoe Lake, and Waterside Pool to be only a community, sports and leisure area for residents and visitors/tourists alike. Ryde Town Council has successfully recently negotiated the transfer of the Harbour and Eastern Gardens from IW Council and discussing long-term leases or freehold transfer of Ryde Skateboard Park and land around the harbour. The Chair of RTC Finance, Phil Jordan, has started to talk to AEW direct to open negotiations about the Arena building which RTC is committed to see brought back into Sport/Leisure use. RTC in the past 12 months has implemented a strategy to borrow finance to purchase important empty and derelict buildings to invest in getting them reopened for community benefit. Buildings purchased have included St. Thomas Church for a new Ryde youth centre and Vectis Hall. RTC is in negotiation with owners of Ryde Theatre and Town Hall and has obtained funding from Historic England to have a full feasibility study and prepare for major grants. Ryde Arena is a targeted building.

  2. Proposed Ice-Rink and Tennis Centre at Smallbrook Stadium – This proposal has conditional planning permission and pre-Covid19 had been progressing but sadly like many projects it has been delayed due to Lockdown. There needs to be a review now on the future of the project and I will request Ryde Town and IW Councils to meet with the project leaders for a full up-date and a plan to move forward. 

 

I and 8 other Ryde residents have formed Our Ryde (www.ourryde.org) and standing for 9 of the 16 RTC Council seats. Our principal aim is to build on the last 12 months of proactive action in not waiting for IW Council but put power back into the hands of local residents and find solutions not barriers. Young People, bringing back empty buildings for community use, and supporting physical and mental-being facilities such as Waterside Pool and RACAG are a priority. 

My new website is: www.michaellilley.uk

Message from Mike Locke –  

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Totland and Colwell

Living in Totland & Colwell, I am fortunate to have the West Wight Sports & Community Centre close at hand. Not just for the sports and social facilities but it has been remarkable how it has supported our community through the pandemic. A thriving local sports centre can make a real contribution to its local community. The Ryde Community Action Group are a great example and I wish them every success in bringing Ryde Arena back to life.

Message from Tracy Mikich –  

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Ryde South East

I fully support the work of the Ryde Arena Community Action Group and the pressure they continue to apply in trying to find a solution to bring ice-skating back to Ryde. It's important, especially in areas like Ryde where there are high pockets of deprivation that we can continue to provide sports facilities that are accessible to all. To lose this facility as well as the many other youth provisions that have been cut during austerity is a real shame. We need to protect, promote and appreciate facilities such as the icerink and what they bring to the local community, as well as our tourism sector.

Message from Cameron Palin –  

Green Party County Council Candidate for Osbourne

Since 2016 active Isle of Wight Green Party Members and councillors have been involved in the campaign to reopen Ryde arena and are now supporting the proposals for a new arena at Smallbrook stadium as part of the Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre (SILC) plans. We will continue to support the campaign to reopen Ryde Area and/or support the proposal at Smallbrook. If we get Green Party Councillors elected to county hall we want to continue to work with you to help push for the reopening of an Ice Rink on the Isle of Wight. We all know how valuable the arena was for cross-generational friendships, promoting physical activities ranging from Figure Skating to Ice Hockey, and provided a safe haven for many younger and older people to spend time. The arena also provided an important social aspect bringing our community together which Ryde now sorely lacks. This is why if Green Party Councillors are elected on May 6th we will fight tooth and nail to get ice skating back on the island and not risk lose another generation of Ice Hockey Players and Figure skaters. We are ready to stand up and fight for the skating community with the goal to bring skating back for good.

Message from Richard Quigley –  

Labour Party County Council Candidate for Cowes North and Chair IW Labour

Community places such as Ryde arena are an essential part of providing places to go and things to do for everyone. I sincerely hope we can find a way to re open the Ice Rink and make it a success. 

iowlabour.co.uk

Message from Steven Sheridan –  

Conservative Party County Council Candidate for Ryde North West

1. I am very interested in the proposed Smallbrook ice rink and believe it could be an excellent facility for Ryde and the wider Island.

2. I understand that the motivation of the private individual is that the centre should include indoor tennis facilities.

3. The old Planet Ice rink is a prime seafront site and hopefully it can be brought back into use if the private lease-holder and IWC can agree some form of compromise mixed use.

4. If a new ice-rink could be built, it would remove one obstacle to re-purposing Planet Ice.

5. Smallbrook really isn’t far from the main residential areas of Ryde, as Ken says, and there is plenty of parking.

6. I believe the new centre could tick many boxes for Sport England funding 

I would be delighted to meet with Ken and the RACAG group to discuss further after the election.

Message from Alasdair Steane –  

Our Island Candidate for Bembridge

Although a former victim of a broken ankle on the ice I am a keen supporter of the campaign for an Island rink.  It is a "must have" for the community and I fully back the campaign to re-instate another one here.  I support the Our Island statement and will do whatever I can to further the campaign in the future.

Message from Nick Stuart –  

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Brighstone, Calbourne and Shalfleet

and Chairman of the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats

Ryde Arena was and should be a real asset for the Island. From participants in Skating and Ice Hockey, for fans and families it was an major part of so many lives. 

The passionate action group and all the people who have missed out deserve the focused support of the Island Council, the active Ryde Town Council and the attention of Councillors. Firstly to tackle the cynical actions of AEW and secondly to work for a long term home for this major part of the Island sporting structure.

The benefits for Islanders, the gain of a renewed sporting venue and the possibilities for the Island economy are prizes too big to be neglected and should be a major part of building back after the pandemic.

Message from Lou Temel –  

Conservative Candidate for Ryde West

As Headteacher of Mayfield Middle School (1990 to 2000) visiting the Arena and providing youngsters with experience of Ice Skating formed an integral part of the School's PE Programme.


Therefore, on returning to the Island, I was saddened to see the Arena Rink close down and the loss of an important amenity for public use.


My own personal preference would be to see the Arena Building returned to use as an Ice Rink.
My reasons for this are as follows:


1. Permissions, originally attained for building over what was sand, were granted for the building to be used as an Ice Rink.


2. The current building is ideally situated from the point of view of infra-structure: 
There is a large car park immediately available to users, bus and rail links are already there and of course links to the mainland for visiting teams could not be simpler. 
So the communication links are already in place and require no further loss of green space; which I believe was a major factor in deciding on the original location of the Arena Rink. 


3. The sea front site position was also thought to be ideal for attracting holiday makers,providing an all year round facility, particularly pertinent during periods of inclement weather.
I hope to see the return of Ice Skating, Ice Hockey and any related Ice Rink events to the Island in the not too distant future for all the positive affects it offers to skaters of all ages."

If you would like to discuss this any further feel free to contact Lou directly on lou.temel@gmail.com 

Message from Phil Warren –  

Our Island Candidate for Ventnor and St Lawrence

Having been a Ryde resident for 10 years and a councillor on Ryde Town Council for 4 years before moving to Ventnor I recognise the value of Ryde Arena as a valuable community asset.

 

As the only Island facility of this nature it provides essential focus and opportunities for engagement especially for young people. I was always impressed by their dedication “dry” rehearsal routines outside when they were still competing without the benefit of home ice to practice on. Ice hockey was also very popular spectator for families and youngsters.

 

As a member of the Our Island group I will fully support any action to bring this key asset back to fulfil its intended purpose.

 

We need to support skating and young people now and in the future.

Statements from Ryde Town Council Candidates:

 in alphabetical order

 

Message from Diana Conyers –  

Ryde Town Council Candidate for Binstead

 

I am concerned about the ice rink for two reasons: firstly, we need an ice rink on the Island, for the use of both residents and visitors; and secondly, the current building, which occupies a prime site on the seafront, is currently an eyesore that is having a detrimental effect on the appearance of the area. Ryde Town Council's Planning Committee, which I have chaired for the last two years, has recently revised its Position Statement - a document that sets out the Council's policy on planning-related issues. The revised document calls upon the Isle of Wight Council to 'ensure that Ryde Arena is retained for community use and work with RTC to prepare a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of the site' and to 'address the access problems at Smallbrook Stadium and consider ways of improving the recreational offer on this and the adjacent site'. If re-elected, I will continue to work with other Ryde councillors to restore an ice rink on whichever of the above two sites proves to be the most feasible.

Message from Phil Jordon –  

Our Ryde Ryde Town Council Candidate for Ryde North West

Like many others in our community, I was astonished and saddened when the ice rink was forced to close in 2016.  The loss to all the users of the ice rink and to the wider community was enormous and heart wrenching.  This wonderful asset for the town of Ryde had become an emblem of the failures of councils and private owners to safely secure the sustainable existence of the ice rink and the outcome of that impacting and affecting many lives.

I believe there is a desire and genuine need for an ice rink in Ryde and I believe we should do all we can to ensure we provide one for our community as soon as possible.

I am personally committed to working towards that end and I will be doing all I can to drive forward with the help and assistance as a local Ryde Councillor to find a way and a solution to this pressing situation.

To that end, I have contacted the agent who is handling the sale/Lease of the building and opened a line of discussion to see if there are opportunities and possibilities to acquire the building for community use and return ice skating to it.

Unless we can find another solution in Ryde for ice skating my view is we can and should also explore the existing building for possible acquisition – perhaps under a property partnership or Trust – to see if there is a potential future pathway to restore ice skating through this building in Ryde.

Much has been held up with the building due to the recent ‘legal’ process of commercial mediation but since the closure of those discussions and the knowledge that the building is free of any obligated leisure encumbrance and the IWC have accepted the outcome of the proceedings the building is once again up for Lease and/or sale.   I do think the time is right to renew the determination to take back control over the building and I am working towards establishing a viable stakeholder partnership that could entertain the possibility of acquisition and start the process of a firm project to bring this building back into use as an ice rink. 

The owners must be ready and realistic about what is possible and what the current value of the building is but until we open the channels of contact – as I have done already – we are not clear about what the scale and cost of the project might look like. 

I know RACAG have unflinchingly battled over the past five years and more to restore ice skating in Ryde and they are shining beacons of hope and light in our town and community and I celebrate and applaud their work, dedication, and commitment.  We must turn that into wider community engagement and support and create a definite project and plan to turn all this work into a successful conclusion.    It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen in a short space of time but happen we can agree is something we can all aspire to.

My own commitment, alongside many others, is to make this a priority for Ryde, for our community, for the children who have lost so much and for users and attendees alike and to do all I can personally to make this project real.  To help deliver it.   With  help and support as a community, as an Island community and as those interested in making a difference, we can achieve our aims and bring back an ice rink to Ryde.  Let post covid regeneration become very real and very transforming and let it bring an ice rink back.

Message from Cllr Michael Lilley –  

Mayor of Ryde and Councillor Candidate for Ryde Appley and Elmfield

 

Support future Olympic Champion Skaters, Ice-Hockey Players and Skateboarders!

 

I personally believe that Ryde has the possibility through a Ryde Ice Rink and a Ryde Skateboard Park we could have future World and Olympic champions from future generations. We need to believe and invest in a post-Covid19 world in our young people’s aspirations and potential. We owe them that commitment. 

 

I wish to send a message to all members of RACAG that I have and will be totally committed to seeing an Ice Rink in Ryde reopen in the next 4 years whether at Ryde Arena or at Smallbrook Stadium. The last year has seen our whole lives and the lives of our children change with Covid19 but out of this IW Skaters are getting back to training on the mainland. In the last 4 years the IW skaters and ice hockey players have persevered and in my eyes real heroines and heroes. We need to get back post-Covid19 to reignite the fight to get Ryde’s Ice Rink back and reopened. 

 

The current situation as I see it is:

 

  1. Ryde Arena – IW Council legal action failed and AEW and IW Council are now not in talks. I have requested an up-to-date report on what the IW Council plans for the Arena and the Esplanade. Ryde Town Council and I want to see Ryde Arena, Esplanade, Ryde Skateboard Park, Harbour, Eastern Gardens, Canoe Lake, and Waterside Pool to be only a community, sports and leisure area for residents and visitors/tourists alike. Ryde Town Council has successfully recently negotiated the transfer of the Harbour and Eastern Gardens from IW Council and discussing long-term leases or freehold transfer of Ryde Skateboard Park and land around the harbour. The Chair of RTC Finance, Phil Jordan, has started to talk to AEW direct to open negotiations about the Arena building which RTC is committed to see brought back into Sport/Leisure use. RTC in the past 12 months has implemented a strategy to borrow finance to purchase important empty and derelict buildings to invest in getting them reopened for community benefit. Buildings purchased have included St. Thomas Church for a new Ryde youth centre and Vectis Hall. RTC is in negotiation with owners of Ryde Theatre and Town Hall and has obtained funding from Historic England to have a full feasibility study and prepare for major grants. Ryde Arena is a targeted building.

  2. Proposed Ice-Rink and Tennis Centre at Smallbrook Stadium – This proposal has conditional planning permission and pre-Covid19 had been progressing but sadly like many projects it has been delayed due to Lockdown. There needs to be a review now on the future of the project and I will request Ryde Town and IW Councils to meet with the project leaders for a full up-date and a plan to move forward. 

 

I and 8 other Ryde residents have formed Our Ryde (www.ourryde.org) and standing for 9 of the 16 RTC Council seats. Our principal aim is to build on the last 12 months of proactive action in not waiting for IW Council but put power back into the hands of local residents and find solutions not barriers. Young People, bringing back empty buildings for community use, and supporting physical and mental-being facilities such as Waterside Pool and RACAG are a priority. 

My new website is: www.michaellilley.uk

 

Statements from Political Parties

in response to our letter asking for a statement, in alphabetical order

Conservative

If a Conservative administration is re-elected (something we are working towards) I will certainly press them to get a wider sports / playing field strategy going ASAP. This also ties into the Newport FC @ Seaclose proposals which Matt Price is promoting. If we can get those plans for Newport and the new rink / facilities for Ryde, that will be a big win for the two main towns.

 

David Pugh Chair Conservative Party Isle of Wight

Green

Thank you for your letter. We of course share your goal and vision to see either Ryde Arena reopened or a suitable alternative go ahead, as skating provision for all Islanders is very important to us. As you’ll know active committee member and council candidate Cameron Palin has been actively involved with your campaign group since 2016 due to his close ties with the arena.

 

If Isle of Wight Green Party councillors get elected on May 6 we’d like to reassure you we will be in contact with you about moving forward with this project. We will of course fight your corner in County Hall and publicly voice our support as well as supporting in any other way that is needed. We know that your community group have been fighting tooth and nail to initially reopen Ryde arena and now explore the option of a new rink at Smallbrook stadium site.

 

Whilst this site is not currently ideal for public transport, if plans were to go ahead we would support you in getting and pushing for greater public transport access. An Ice skating rink and Leisure complex proposed by yourselves is of great strategic value and any party should support it. The proposal won’t only offer more opportunities for islanders but help people of all ages with their mental and physical health as well as the socialising aspect.

 

Cameron Palin often updates the Isle of Wight Green Party on the Ryde Arena and Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre (SILC) proposals and updates, so we want to reassure you we are all on board. We know COVID would have had an impact on your ability to access grant funding, so it was a shame to see that the Conservative led Isle of Wight Council decided not to invest part of its £100 million property investment fund on the Island and use some of it to take Ryde Arena back from AEW UK rather than investing £35 million on Mainland properties.

 

If elected Green Party Councillors will look at all possibilities to either reopen and take control of Ryde Arena once again and/or support the proposal for a new Arena at Smallbrook or another suitable site.

 

Many Thanks

The Isle of Wight Green Party County Council Candidates 

Island Independent Network

 

We support facilities which will give public access to the island community and provide an outlet supporting health and wellbeing.

 

Ian Stephens founder and leader of the Island Independent Network

Labour

Community places such as Ryde arena are an essential part of providing places to go and things to do for everyone. I sincerely hope we can find a way to re open the Ice Rink and make it a success.

 

Richard Quigley Chair IW Labour

Liberal Democrat

Ryde Arena was and should be a real asset for the Island. From participants in Skating and Ice Hockey, for fans and families it was an major part of so many lives. 

The passionate action group and all the people who have missed out deserve the focused support of the Island Council, the active Ryde Town Council and the attention of Councillors. Firstly to tackle the cynical actions of AEW and secondly to work for a long term home for this major part of the Island sporting structure.

The benefits for Islanders, the gain of a renewed sporting venue and the possibilities for the Island economy are prizes too big to be neglected and should be a major part of building back after the pandemic.

Nick Stuart Chairman IW Liberal Democrats

Our Island

Personally and on behalf of the Our Island group of candidates I pledge to support whatever actions are practical and possible to bring an active Ice Rink back to the Isle of Wight.

 

The current situation is wholly unsatisfactory. There is a lack of information to properly assess what can best be done to take things forward. However, all of us in the Our island group will actively support any steps to find a way forward and will pursue any measures that can be taken to bring this key facility back into active operation.

 

We want to get the Ice Rink back

Jonathan Bacon — Our Island

Ice for Island Skaters at Last?

Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre - SILC

New multi-sports centre including ice rink proposed for Ryde

used with permission SILC

A planning application has been submitted for the Multi Use leisure facility which will include an IIHF standard sized rink measuring 26m x 56m. It is the intention of Ryde School, who own the land, to provide us with a 25 year lease subject to the use of the facilities by the school children.

 

The plans for the Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre were previewed to a packed room of the Ryde Arena Community Action Group. We’re so delighted with the proposal and give full support to the development which will bring back skating and ice-hockey to the Island along with a wide range of other activities for all islanders.

Many of our young people and their parents and carers are showing great resilience by continuing to skate and play ice hockey on the mainland, but many others, unfortunately, have had to suspend their dreams.

We warmly welcome the rapid development of an improved facility and will campaign to ensure that the Council and national funding bodies give their full support to have the centre open within 12 months.

There has already been rapid progress and we hope that we will see our Island skating and hockey community back on ice soon.

BBC South report on Smallbrook plans 23 June 2019

BBC reports on our Amazing Teams in

"The Skaters without a Rink" - 20/2/19

Community Unites in Support of Ryde Arena to form

Link Around the Rink

on 2nd Anniversary of closure of Ryde Arena

BBC South News 6/10/2018

Thank you to all 300+ people, including our MP, Bob Seely, and local councillors from across the political spectrum, for uniting to form Link Around the Rink 2. It was wonderful to see people of all ages, backgrounds and political affiliations united in support of returning Ryde Arena to use as an ice rink and arena for our community

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Photo credit: Isle of Wight County Press

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Over two years ago, on the 6th October 2016 the people of the Isle of Wight woke to find themselves locked out of Ryde Arena, our only ice rink. Children expecting to practice their figure skating and train for hockey instead found padlocked doors. Overnight and with no warning, AEW UK destroyed the dreams of thousands of Islanders whose lives have been changed by skating. Since then the rink has been left empty, something the freeholder says is against the lease. It has been left to become an eyesore in one of the most prominent positions on the Isle of Wight. Apparently so little care was taken to secure the building that a door was left unlocked for seven weeks (see video further down page or click here).

 

Meanwhile an important leisure and tourist facility has been lost, both to the people of the Isle of Wight and to the tourist trade that much of our Island depends on. We are told that instances of anti-social behaviour have increased dramatically since the closure of the rink. We need leisure facilities. We need healthy activities for our young people, recreation for our citizens, facilities for schools, attractions for tourists. The rink was all this and more to the Island.

Without the facilities like Ryde Arena, that give people a place to meet, a place to have fun, a place to learn the value of working hard at something together, a town becomes nothing but a collection of dwellings. And what use are those dwellings when those places in our town which gave quality to our lives are displaced? We don't know what AEW wants to do with Ryde Arena but their website suggests they are hoping for a change of use. Why, when what we desperately need in Ryde are more healthy leisure facilities, when the ice rink contributed so much to the quality of the lives of so many in our community? Ryde Arena often contributed the most to many who could be considered amongst the most disadvantaged in our community. How many facilities can boast that? No change of use could benefit our community as nearly as much!

When Ryde's seafront was designated for leisure use, it was because past generations recognised the value of healthy leisure to the personal development and quality of life of our citizens and also how easy it was to lose such spaces to short term profits. They knew that the way people feel about their town depends as much on public spaces as private ones. They knew that what makes Ryde special is the unique relationship between leisure and our seafront summed up on our town's catchphrase: "Ryde, the town on the beach". Ryde is the first place many people see when they come to the Isle of Wight and the first thing many people see is Ryde Arena, seemingly abandoned and derelict. AEW should be "more respectful of the Island” in the words of our MP Bob Seely.

Frozen Out by AEW?

For news articles about Ryde Arena  click here
Ryde Arena Community Action Group

On the 6th October 2016 the people of the Isle of Wight woke to find themselves locked out of Ryde Arena, our only ice rink. Children expecting to practice their figure skating and train for hockey instead found padlocked doors. Overnight and with no warning, AEW UK destroyed the dreams of thousands of Islanders whose lives have been changed by skating.  This site tells their stories as they campaign to reclaim their rink and their dreams.

Shocking Video of Ryde Arena in the News

A disturbing YouTube Video was recently featured in the Isle of Wight County Press and on the Isle of Wight Radio website showing the current state of Ryde Arena. This video is very upsetting to us as it would seem to show that the building has been virtually abandoned by AEW to decay and vandalism.

 

Isle of Wight Radio and RACAG accept no responsibility for the featured video which is from a third party.

BBC South News from 21 August 2017

Ryde Arena Community Action Group