NEARLY 4,000 people have signed a petition launched in a bid to keep a popular leisure centre and ice rink open.
It has emerged that John Nike Leisure Sport are currently consulting on potential redundancies at its site in Binfield.
The centre has been closed since March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning people have been unable to skate, or use the ski slope.
The Bracknell Bees, who use the rink as the Hive, usually use the ice to train on and play their home matches, but the season has been annulled.
There has not been a formal statement posted on John Nike Leisuresport’s website, or its social media accounts and the centre has not responded to Wokingham.Today’s request for comment as we went to press.
However, the Bracknell Bees said that they had been notified of the decision and that a 30-day consultation on the plan was now under way.
Its statement said: “Just to reassure those fans who have already purchased season tickets for the Bees 2020/21 NIHL National campaign, that full refunds will be given should the club be unable to participate, in the sad event that the ice rink was unable to reopen.”
The petition has been launched by James Rayburn and is due to go past 4,000 signatures any moment.
In his introduction, he writes: “As everyone knows John Nike Leisure sport complex are going to be making redundences 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 petition was launched at midnight this morning, and thousands of people have signed up adding happy memories of the centre.
One said: “It’s my second family and deserves to be part of the community”.
Another said: “My sister has been skating here since this opened and my niece is a coach…closing this facility will have an impact on my family and for all of those who have been using this over the many years for leisure and sport.”
And a third pointed out that ice skating is “a great exercise”.
The company also runs rinks in Chatham, Llandudno, Plymouth and Swadlincote. It was launched in 1985 by local businessman John Nike, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 81.
The petition can be seen at https://www.change.org/p/john-nike-leisure-sport-complex-keeping-john-nike-leisure-sport-complex-open