Image: The proposed new sports centre

SPORT England has objected to the proposed Smallbrook ice rink and sports centre in Ryde — but a meeting is planned for next month to address the concerns.

As Isle of Wight Radio previously reported, a planning application was submitted to build an indoor sports and education centre in Ryde. The plans for the facility include three tennis courts, two multi-use courts, a climbing wall and an ice rink — as well as over 100 parking bays.

It would be known as the SILC (Smallbrook Ice & Leisure Centre) and funding is dependent on cash being raised in the community alongside winning grants from organisations including Sport England.

However Sport England has objected to the proposals, the reason was the potential loss of playing fields at the site, which is next to Smallbrook Stadium.

The Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre (SILC) would be built on an L-shaped field which has previously been marked out for junior football pitches and rounders pitches.

Sport England said there is currently no ‘robust assessment’ to demonstrate that the pitches are no longer needed, so it could not support the application.

In its comments, it said:

“Sport England having reviewed the plans and supporting information considers that little evidence is provided demonstrating the need for the new facilities.”

The public body also said little information is provided to demonstrate the need for the proposed mix of facilities, including the ice rink.

It was hoped that Sport England would provide some of the £1.8m funding still needed for the SILC project.

But the team behind the application are positive that the objection can be overcome, and will meet with Sport England on August 14 to discuss their objection to the development.

They said:

“We do note the objections, however we’ve had a positive discussion with Sport England this morning and they are coming down to the Island to meet with us on the August 14. We are looking forward to working with them and the Isle of Wight Council in finding a suitable resolution so the project can move forward and gain planning permission.”

The body also said:

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported the application so far. We are determined to broaden the sports facilities available to all Islanders. Islanders deserve the best and we are committed to achieving that.”

The team behind the application said they already had up to £1m provided by a member of the local community, but were hopeful of securing an additional £1.8m through private investments and grants, including an application to Sport England.

Meanwhile, an objection was also made by Island Roads, citing concerns about traffic, parking and the lack of public transport links to the site.

The SILC team said they would approach Southern Vectis about incorporating the site on at least one of their routes and would approach South Western Railway about making Smallbrook Junction a permanent stop on the Island Line.