CAMPAIGNERS said today (Monday) they were absolutely delighted, after the Secretary of State decided not to call in plans for a new Isle of Wight ice rink.

The Smallbrook Ice and Lesiure Centre was approved by the Isle of Wight Council's planning committee last month, but was referred to the Secretary of State  for Communities, Housing and Local Government after an objection was lodged by Sport England.

Sport England had raised concerns about the loss of playing field space.

The government has now notified the Isle of Wight Council the Secretary of State had not called in the decision to grant planning permission, and confirmed the approval stands.

A spokesperson for the Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre said the team was absolutely delighted with the outcome — but now faced a new challenge to meet the conditions attached to the planning approval.

One condition is changing the speed limit at Ashey Road, which the spokesperson said was 'out of our hands.'

The spokesperson said: "We are hoping politicians and councillors will work with us to change the speed limit, which is the hardest condition.

"We can now start the process of applying for grant funding and we are doing everything we can to try to fulfill the conditions."

The planning permission has 11 conditions attached, which include drawing up a traffic management plan and drainage scheme.

Welcoming the news, Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely said: "Sport England’s objection, while well-intentioned, was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the status of the land on which the facility is proposed to be built.

"This new facility will improve sporting provision on the Island — and in particular will secure a replacement ice rink to meet the existing local need.

"With the Secretary of State’s decision, common sense has now prevailed — and I hope that Sport England will now work constructively with the promoters of this new facility to enable it to come to fruition.

"I must also congratulate the Ryde Arena Community Action Group for their tireless work in campaigning for the re-provision of an Island-based ice-skating facility after the regrettable closure of the rink on Ryde Esplanade, and the planning committee for having the foresight to support these proposals.”

Cllr Dave Stewart, leader of the council said: "I am pleased the Secretary of State has accepted the resolution made by elected members of the Isle of Wight Council last month.

"With planning permission now issued, the council will work proactively with the promoters of this facility to resolve any outstanding issues, including highways.

"We want to see the Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre built and open as soon as possible, providing a much-needed boost to the Island’s sporting offer."

Cllr Vanessa Churchman, the ward representative for Havenstreet, Ashey and Haylands, and a member of the planning committee, said: "This is great news. I will now be working with colleagues to ensure that the speed limit on Ashey Road is reduced to 30mph in order to comply with the conditions accompanying the planning consent.

"This is very timely as the council and Island Roads are looking to improve the Smallbrook roundabout, and — along with a lower speed limit — this has the potential to improve road safety in this particular location, both for those accessing the Smallbrook site and road users more generally."

Building work on the site must start within three years.

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