The Wokingham Paper

John Nike ice rink to close – all employees to be made redundant. Bracknell Bees confident of finding new home

John Nike Leisuresport
John Nike Leisuresport is consulting on its future as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Picture: Phil Creighton

A BINFIELD-based ice rink is to close, and all employees made redundant. 

The John Nike Leisuresport Complex has been a popular destination for families, skaters and ice hockey fans since the 1980s, but a statement published by the owners has said that March’s temporary closure, caused by the coronavirus, is to be a permanent one. 

Last month, John Nike Leisuresport Limited launched a statutory consultation with employees. 

It argued that the centre needed to replace a chiller plant that makes the ice, and the permasnow snow surface on the ice rink by the end of 2021. 

The projected cost of £500,000 was enough to potentially tip the site over the edge. 

Employees were also told that over the past four years, the centre had lost more than £1 million and had spent £350,000 over the past three years in an attempt to turn the business round. 

The statement published by the Bracknell Bees said: “A financially viable plan to keep the Bracknell Complex could not be found. It has been decided that the complex will permanently close with immediate effect with all employees being made redundant.”

Nearly 12,000 people have no signed a petition aimed at saving the centre.

Launched by James Rayburn, who said in his introduction, “As everyone knows John Nike Leisuresport complex are going to be making redundancies and potentially closing the rink permanently due to this.

“Please sign this petition to keep the rink open! 

“This venue is used for a variety of events such as ice hockey, pantomimes, etc!”

The news will affect many of the clubs, teams and ice skaters that use the facilities for practice and for games. 

The Bracknell Bees said that the closure is a “massive loss” to the wider community, but they are confident that they will find a new venue in time for the forthcoming season, which is due to start in the autumn, coronavirus notwithstanding. 

The club’s Stuart Robinson said: “Primarily, we have massive sympathy for all those who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the Nike Group’s sad but understandably necessary decision in these challenging times. We wish them, and everyone who worked so hard to try and keep the facility open well for the future.

“It is a massive loss to the local community in Bracknell and all our ‘family’ within the Hive.”

He added: “The Bees have been making positive progress in finding a home for the 2020/21 season and beyond and we will make further announcements shortly. 

“Whilst the Hive may have closed, the club will live on. 

“Whilst bricks and mortar are important, this club is about people, family and community.”

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