Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Ryde ice rink closure: Council legal action paused

protest 6.10.18 Image copyright Ryde Arena Community Action Groupo
Image caption Campaigners have held rallies to reopen the rink

Legal action by a council to remove tenants from a mothballed ice rink has been paused to allow fresh attempts to negotiate a solution.

Ryde Arena, on the Isle of Wight, was shut in 2016 by AEW UK, which said the rink's sub-lessee owed it more than £200,000 in rent.

Freeholder Isle of Wight Council had accused AEW of breaching its lease.

But it said court proceedings, announced in December, were now on hold after the firm requested arbitration.

Since the closure of the rink, investment company AEW offered its lease for sale for £3.5m.

The 27,580 sq ft (2562 sq m) site is marketed on the firm's website as a "waterfront location with alternative use potential".

The company previously said it "actively sought a solution to the closure of the property" with the council.

Isle of Wight monitoring officer Helen Miles said: "The council was absolutely right to issue legal proceedings because the court can deal with forfeiture and possession matters.

"We felt this was the best way of bringing this to a swift and final conclusion.

"Under the terms of the lease, AEW was entitled to refer this to arbitration."

The operation of the seafront ice rink was taken over in 2015 by a community group, which signed a 35-year sublease.

The group went into liquidation in 2016 after AEW repossessed the site.

AEW previously said it had a "duty to act responsibly with our clients' capital" and negotiations had shown "there is currently no party in a financial position to continue operating the property as an ice rink and the council does not wish to assume this role".

A 15-year council lease condition that the site should contain an ice rink expired in February 2016.

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