BIG FREEZE: Rink on brink as insolvency meeting looms

The troubled'ice skating venue

The troubled'ice skating venue

  • Fears are growing for the future of a Blackpool ice skating arena
  • Insolvency proceedings have been launched by Ice Arena Associates Limited
  • Creditors are expected to meet to discuss the future of the business today
  • The ice skating arena which only opened a year ago provided jobs for 30 people
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The future of a Blackpool ice skating arena is in jeopardy today after its owners launched insolvency proceedings.

Directors of Ice Arena Associates Limited, which trades as Fylde Coast Ice Arena in Bristol Avenue, Bispham, will meet with creditors today at a Blackpool insolvency firm to discuss the business.

Dan Nicholson at the venue

Dan Nicholson at the venue

According to the Government’s website, a meeting of creditors is part of the creditors’ voluntary winding-up corporate insolvency process.

The business was opened a year ago by Ice Arena Associates Limited director and ice arena owner Dan Nicholson, creating 30 jobs, but now faces an uncertain future.

Community leaders today called the move a “shock and disappointment,” with hopes the business will stay open.

Coun Kath Rowson, whose ward the ice arena is in, said the loss of the ice rink would be a big blow.

It is very disappointing that those who invested in the idea have not been successful. I am sorry to hear there maybe job losses and hope a solution is found.

MP Paul Maynard

She added: “If this is true it really is a shock and a big disappointment.

“It has been a very popular attraction in the area.

“I supported it when it was going to planning because I felt it was a great attraction to the ward and would bring employment.

“People who have been there have said it is busy and enjoyed it.

“In this climate the last thing we want is to lose jobs – the aim is to create jobs rather than lose them.

“I really hope the management keep the business going.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said if the arena does close, he hoped activities could be moved to Cleveleys Ice Arena.

He added: “It is very disappointing that those who invested in the idea have not been successful. I am sorry to hear there maybe job losses and hope a solution is found.

“Naturally it is very disappointing but I hope with all the activities being hosted at the Bipsham, there may be an opportunity to move them to Cleveleys Ice Arena.”

Planning permission for Fylde Coast Ice Arena – on the site of the former TVR factory – was granted in September last year.

Speaking at the time, Mr Nicholson, who owns the rink with wife Vycki, told The Gazette: “I’m thrilled and I think the council members in their wisdom have made the right decision.”

Investment included around £40,000 on 1,000 pairs of rental skates, with the venue large enough to host ice hockey and curling matches, as well as public skating.

But Blackpool Council planners were blasted for approving plans for the rink less than three miles away from Jubilee Ice Arena in Cleveleys, which closed soon after.

Mehdi Afshar, then Jubilee Ice Arena director, said councillors should take “full responsibility” for 16 job losses.

However, Coun David Owen, planning committee chairman, argued councillors could not resist applications on the basis of commercial competition.

Jubilee Ice Arena has since reopened as Cleveleys Ice Arena thanks to the efforts of volunteers and parents.

Sam Jones, Cleveleys Ice Arena manager, said: “It is not a shock to me. I think rinks do not make a lot of money. It is hard keeping an ice rink running.

“You have to keep the ice cold to stop it melting and it is costly.

“Where we are concerned it is a good thing. We worked hard to bring Cleveleys Ice Arena back.

“Hopefully people will come back to us. We welcome anyone.

“It is sad to lose a bigger rink, but people can still use the Cleveleys rink and the Blackpool rink.”

The meeting of creditors is expected to take place from 11.15am today at insolvency practitioners Adcroft Hilton Limited in Church Street, Blackpool.

Mr Nicholson was unavailable for comment.

A spokesman for Adcroft Hilton Limited declined to comment.