The Wokingham Paper

John Nike ice rink and ski slope at risk of closure as company consults on possible redundancies

John Nike Leisuresport
John Nike Leisuresport is consulting on its future as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Picture: Phil Creighton

A POPULAR centre is under threat of closure, partly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A statement sent to employees of the John Nike Leisure Centre in Bracknell said that they are consulting of possible redundancies. 

As we reported yesterday, a petition has been set up on Change.org in a bid to protect the ice rink, which is home to the Bracknell Bees. 

The centre also includes a dry ski slope and opened in 1985. 

The statement revealed that the centre needs to replace a chiller plant, that makes the ice, and the permasnow snow surface on the ice rink by the end of 2021, and the projected cost of £500,000 is enough to potentially tip the site over the edge. 

Employees were also told that over the past four years, the centre had lost more than £1million and had spent £350,000 over the past three years in an attempt to turn the business round. 

The statement said: “The JNL Bracknell Complex operated by John Nike Leisuresport Limited are about to commence meaningful statutory consultations on potential redundancies as the company cannot continue to finance the losses of the business”. 

It continued: “The increased uncertainly in these unprecedented times, together with an already strained financial situation prior to COVID 19 these risks are compounded by the future capital requirements of replacing the Chiller plant and the Permasnow surface on the main slope in the next 18 months, requiring half a million of capital investment above the normal capital required to keep the site moving forward, has forced us to consider closing the complex permanently.”

The Bracknell Bees said in a statement that: “All 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.”

More than 6,000 people have now signed a petition aimed at keeping the ice rink open. 

John Nike Leisuresport
John Nike Leisuresport is consulting on its future as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Picture: Phil Creighton

The statement from John Nike Leisuresport Limited in full

It’s with regret I am having to send out this statement today (Wednesday 27th May 2020).  

The JNL Bracknell Complex operated by John Nike Leisuresport Limited are about to commence meaningful statutory consultations on potential redundancies as the company cannot continue to finance the losses of the business. 

The JNL Bracknell site was closed to customers on 20th March on the instruction of the government due to the COVID 19 outbreak.  Over the last few years, the JNL Bracknell operation has lost significant amounts of money at the EBITDA level totalling over a million pounds in the last four years.  The group has invested capital expenditure of £350k between 1st May 2017 and 30th April 2020 to try to turn the business around, with all the employees and partners trying the best to make the business viable.

The increased uncertainly in these unprecedented times, together with an already strained financial situation prior to COVID 19 these risks are compounded by the future capital requirements of replacing the Chiller plant and the Permasnow surface on the main slope in the next 18 months, requiring half a million of capital investment above the normal capital required to keep the site moving forward, has forced us to consider closing the complex permanently.

Partners and suppliers, I will be calling over the next few days to discuss the situation in more detail. However, we will not know much more until we have concluded the consultation process with our employees first.

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