Consultation opens over controversial Islington leisure centre plans

Skaters fight to save rink while Council says new play areas will boost exercise levels

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

Sobell Ice Skating Club on the rink
Sobell Ice Skating Club on the rink. Photo: LDRS

Sports fans can have their say about plans for a popular Islington leisure centre which was badly damaged by a flood.

Islington council has opened its consulation into new activities it plans for the Sobell Leisure centre in Finsbury Park.

Flood damage last August saw the trampoline park, soft play, ice rink, squash courts, and sports hall written off when a water main burst nearby damaging homes and other businesses.

The council has drawn up plans to replace the damaged areas.

It includes new soft play areas and “Ninja warrior” inflatable and trampoline area, a new “active zone” linked to the existing trampoline area , which it said will attract more paying visitors, boosting the centre’s income.

It will also see upgraded squash courts and gym and a new cafe.

Earlier this month senior politicians agreed that the badly damaged ice rink – used by a skating and ice hockey clubs – is unlikely to be restored.

They said the rink was not attracting enough people and it was costly to run – accounting for 70% of the centre’s energy bill and running at a yearly £250,000 loss. People could use the rink at Alexandra Palace or Lea Valley instead, they suggested.

However skaters and ice hockey players have called on the council to rethink and enc ouraged it to talk to other operators to look at the numbers and see if they could rebuild a greener ice rink, with the insurance money.

Cllr Nurullah Turan, the council’s executive member for health, said the council would explore these options.

The skaters also said the plans meant space for sport would be lost to soft play and some predicted there would be fewer repeat visits, whilst their clubs use the rink regularly.

Ed Sherman, from Haringey Youth Hockey said the rink meant young people had somewhere “to channel their energy.”

They said the council could also monetise the rink more effectively with more weekend events.

At a recent Executive meeting councillors said the proposed new areas would encourage more people to be active.

Cllr Turan said: “If realised, our vision will attract many more Islington residents, who will benefit from the fun, inclusive, active zone, the enlarged boxing area, and the upgrades to the squash courts and gym. ”

Berry Saunders from Sobell Ice Skating Club said it is hard for people to find alternative spaces to skate, with members of her club training in an indoor studio, off the ice. Some members are going to Gillingham in Kent, to a rink, which costs extra travel money and time.

“The rink is community,” she said.

The online consultation ends on July 7 and residents can also complete it at libraries and community centres.

AdBlocker Message

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

About EC1 Echo

EC1 Echo is your free local independent community news website. We publish stories to the web across the week and offer a platform for local people to highlight what matters to them. EC1 Echo is a not-for-profit project in partnership with the Peel Institute. Please consider becoming a subscriber supporter from £3.00 per month.
We need your help

Submit your listing here