THE owners of Ayr Ice Rink have blamed South Ayrshire Council and the Ukraine war for the closure of the popular community facility.

The Limekiln Road venue closed for what could be the last time on Saturday, September 23, after a buyout attempt headed by Glasgow Ice Centre failed to materialise.

And over the past few months various bodies and members of the public have blamed owners Ayrshire Curlers Ltd for allowing the rink to close.

However, the board of Ayrshire Curlers Ltd have now released a statement saying that they and the 550 curlers who utilise the facility at Ayr Ice Rink were "deeply saddened by its closure."

The company has managed the facility for the last 51 years, but announced earlier this year that they had taken the decision to shut the doors in the face of huge increases in utility bills for the venue.

Ayr Advertiser: Skaters on the Ayr ice on September 23Skaters on the Ayr ice on September 23 (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

The board has now issued a statement saying they are "upset by the criticism and false information aired in social media and other media outlets" directed at them and at Ayr curlers in general.

In the statement, posted on social media, a spokesperson said: "The reason for closure is simply down to the non viability of trading the ice rink due to the hike in energy prices. 

"The £150,000+ of additional income required to pay energy costs per annum cannot be generated.

"The board has investigated all options to remain open, including reduced energy consumption, insulation and alternative income streams, however, the overall effect is minimal.

"To date the board has received three different offers for the rink from Glasgow Ice Centre, who have advised that they have the support of Scottish Curling, Kyle and Ayr Figure Skating Clubs and the Bruins Junior Ice Hockey Club. 

"It is unfortunate that they haven’t discussed their proposals with Ayr Curling Club, as curling generated 53 per cent of the income at the ice rink in the last accounting period. 

"The board has examined Glasgow Ice Centre’s offers together with their business plan and cash flow projections and has raised some queries with them.

Read More: Ayr Ice Rink: Photos from final night as buyout fails

"No response has been received to this request or to a request for proof of funding.

"The board can confirm that the initial offer to buy the rink had an offer price of £1, and the most recent offer, of £22,000, includes all curling stones.

"There have been statements in social media about substantial debt within Ayrshire Curlers Ltd. The board can confirm that there is no crystallised debt, unpaid invoices or sums due to HMRC. All debts have been paid as they have fallen due.

"The board assumes that the sums that have been referred to are grant awards from SportScotland, which date back to 2010 and 2013, when SportScotland paid 50 per cent of the cost of the ice making plant and a new floor.  

"As a term in the awards, Sport Scotland may require this grant to be repaid if the rink closes within 20 years. We are in discussion with Sport Scotland regarding this.

Ayr Advertiser: Jim Murray and Alex Strachan from Ayr Bruins Junior Ice Hockey Club at Ayr Ice Rink on September 23Jim Murray and Alex Strachan from Ayr Bruins Junior Ice Hockey Club at Ayr Ice Rink on September 23 (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

"It is entirely a matter between Ayrshire Curlers Ltd and Sport Scotland. 

"The board of Ayrshire Curlers Ltd believe that onus for the provision of leisure facilities should rest with the local authority, as is the case in East and North Ayrshire."

Ayrshire's last two ice rinks are located at the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock and Auchenharvie Leisure Centre in Stevenston.

The curlers' spokesperson added :"South Ayrshire has relied upon Ayrshire Curlers Ltd to provide an ice rink since 1972 and unfortunately, the war in Ukraine with its consequence on energy prices has resulted in the business being unable to continue with the provision of ice facilities."

South Ayrshire Council has been contacted for comment.