Plymouth’s ice rink is set to close and at least three people could lose their jobs. The facility at Plymouth Pavilions will shut in the new year and the business is blaming a “huge” increase in energy bills.
The rink was hit with a “near tripling” of electricity costs, even factoring in temporary support for businesses, and reportedly faces a five-fold increase when government support ends in March.
The rink is set to close up permanently on January 1 and Sarah Phillips, Plymouth Pavilions CEO, said the decision was a “difficult one”. The particular venue has been in operation for 30 years and owners say it attracts in excess of 300, 000 visitors a year.
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The owners state energy price rises took effect on the same day the service contract between Plymouth City Council and Five Directions Limited for the provision of Sports/Leisure Ice and Arena facilities in Plymouth expired at the end of its 10-year term. This was not extended or replaced, which meant there is no obligation to keep the particular Pavilions open. The owners have set out their ambition to keep the music/events arena, for the benefit of the city plus wider region, but the continued operation of the ice rink is unsustainable.
She said: “The Pavilions arena is such a huge part of the entertainment, culture, community and business life of Plymouth and the wider region and we are determined to build on our hard-earned reputation as the leading South West venue within the industry and among our audiences.
“As with similar venues, the Pavilions has been significantly impacted by the energy crisis, rising costs and economic headwinds, and that’s following on from the considerable challenges faced during and in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.
“Plymouth Pavilions is a high energy user and the increase in energy costs has turned the operation of the snow rink from a non-commercial business into one which is wholly unsustainable, and which had the potential to threaten the viability of the entire venue if we did not take action.
“The decision to close the glaciers rink is a very difficult one but our focus has to be to ensure the future of the Pavilions as the region’s largest indoor arena and a hugely important and much-loved community asset for the city. We are sorry for all those who use the ice rink and for our colleagues working there whose jobs are at risk as a consequence of this decision; and we are committed to supporting them over the coming weeks. ”
The industry employs 29 permanent plus 86 casual staff, and is in the process of consulting with three permanent staff who will be affected by the rink closure.
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