The head of a skating club left without a rink after it was flooded has accused the council of wanting a “quick-fix win” in shutting it for good.

Karen Coombes said that notwithstanding a costly legal bid, the decision to close the rink at Sobell Leisure Centre can no longer be stopped.

Islington Council rubber-stamped its new plans for the leisure centre, run by operator GLL, yesterday (August 2) following a public consultation.

The authority announced in May that it would install a new soft play area at Sobell after its facilities were damaged by flooding last year but said the ice rink would not return.

Cllr Nurullah Turan, Islington’s executive member for health and social care, claimed at the time that not enough people were using the rink, resulting in a loss of £250,000 a year.

But ice skate club members disputed these figures and launched a campaign to try and save the condemned rink.

Speaking today, figure skating head coach Karen Coombes said that the council opted for a “quick-fix win” in dumping the rink.

Karen, 58, who has run the club for 36 years, said: “We could’ve worked hand-in-hand and it wouldn’t have been a problem, but they’ve decided not to do that.”

Karen will now be forced to look elsewhere to run her club, already hit hard by the now year-long closure of the rink following last summer’s flood.

She said: “I’ve lost all my business – my skaters have had to go elsewhere.”

Islington Council has claimed that it will now look into whether it could potentially offer transport to the rink at Lee Valley in Leyton for those who might otherwise struggle to travel there.

But Karen said that the proposal is “laughable” and fails to realise that people made use of the Sobell rink because it was local and offered them a safe space to socialise.

She said: “It was escapism and it was really good for everyone’s mental health.

“One of my things I say to everybody is – you might be investing in your kid’s lessons now but I’m telling you that when they’re 16 years old, you know where they’re going to be. They’re going to be training still.

“That’s the case for most of my skaters – you know where they all are. They’re training, they’re not out round the flats.”

Karen, speaking about the council, added: “They’ve missed out. It’s all about money at the end of the day. But I went down with the ship.”

She said she hoped to run her club again from Alexandra Palace ice rink in the near future.

Cllr Nurullah Turan said: “Throughout the consultation, the affection that many people have for the ice rink has shone through.

“The arguments for not reinstating it – such as the huge financial cost of maintaining it, the comparatively low usership, and the opening of newer, larger facilities – are compelling, but that doesn’t make our decision any easier. 

“We’ve thoroughly explored different ways to reinstate the ice rink but, regrettably, none of these were viable.

“We’re now working with GLL and ice rink users to make it as easy as possible for skaters and groups to make use of the fantastic state-of-the-art rinks at Lee Valley and Alexandra Palace.”

The council heard from 830 people during its seven-week consultation and 448 people, or 54%, said they would not be affected if the ice rink shut.

A further 298 people, or 36% said the closure would affect them.