THE success of winter ice skating at the BIC could be damaging the viability of a permanent rink in at Kings Park, it has been claimed.

A temporary rink has been a big success at the conference centre in recent years and has boosted campaigns for a full-time rink.

But Bournemouth council leader Cllr John Beesley told the council that seasonal skating at the BIC could make a permanent rink less likely.

Planning permission already exists for a rink at Kings Park and Cllr Beesley said the council had been “in discussions” with an ice rink operator “for some time”.

He added: “However, seasonal ice skating at the BIC is affecting the financial viability of a new facility at Kings Park. While the council continues to fully support the provision of a new ice facility in King’s Park, we need to ensure that the chosen development partner has a deliverable business model.”

Since 2010, the council’s entertainment and leisure venues have been run by a charitable trust, BH Live.

Cllr Beesley told the Daily Echo: “We don’t have control over the operational issues with BH Live at any of their facilities. They are independent of the council in that respect.”

He added: “That doesn’t mean we can’t explain the position to them and that’s what we are doing.”

Cllr Beesley had been answering a question from Independent Cllr Ron Whittaker, who urged the council to decide on a rink for Kings Park as soon as possible.

Mary Waygood, one of the organisers of the petition for a rink, said: “Investors shouldn’t be concerned about the temporary rink at the BIC, which is only in place for two and a half months of the year.

“I haven’t come across anyone locally who would choose to use a small temporary rink, charging high prices with no concessions and limited ice time, over a permanent Olympic or similar size rink offering far superior facilities and at better rates.”

She said the Facebook group Westover Ice Rink – Memories, which was set up to share memories of the town centre rink which closed in 1991, now had more than 660 members.

An online petition has passed 1,200 signatures and there around 500 more on hard copy petitions.