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Skating groups vent frustration over temporary ice rink delays

James Hockaday

Frustrated skating groups have demanded answers over the opening of a temporary ice arena.

A special meeting was called on Wednesday by Slough Borough Council (SBC) after ice skating groups had become agitated over the lack of information regarding the opening of the temporary rink.

It is due to be installed in the car park next to Absolutely Ice while the permanent rink undergoes a £7.7m refurbishment and was due to open in mid-November.

But at the meeting, SBC’s strategic director of customer and community services, Roger Parkin, announced it is now not expected to be open before mid-December.

He said the council could not announce a specific opening date for the temporary facility until contracts have been finalised with the management provider, which cannot be named at this stage due to contractual reasons.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, at Montem Leisure Centre, Slough Synchro Skating Club chairman Shirley Goodgroves told the Express rumours about the temporary ice arena had been circulating.

She said: “The rumour mill is going 10 to the dozen. The groups have not been consulted, they [SBC] say everyone knows about opening dates but everyone doesn’t – that’s why there are rumours flying around.”

Other groups which attended the meeting included Slough Jets and Special People on Ice.

One member of the public said: “The communication between yourselves and ourselves has been awful. If you could build a website or Facebook page or anything just to improve that communication to the public, we wouldn’t get these frustrations.”

Many members of the public, including Mrs Goodgroves, said they wished they felt more involved and had been given a chance to contribute their expertise to the ice rink planning process.

Mr Parkin also announced there would be no changing rooms for the temporary rink and people will instead have to change in Montem Leisure Centre and walk a short distance from a back door to the rink.

SBC said it has also passed the details of coaches and skating groups to the ice rink’s new management contractors and has asked them to accommodate all existing groups as best they can.

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