EMBARRASSMENT and disorder were rife across consecutive council meetings, as in-fighting reigned over vital decision-making on the future of desperate community groups.

Amid point scoring and cheap shots, a skating community has been left in greater uncertainty and fear than ever before despite a seven-month battle for answers, following a turbulent Slough Borough Council cabinet meeting on Monday evening.

The meeting, which failed to provide a final decision on whether a temporary ice rink would be provided for Slough's skating groups while the current rink is refurbished over a period of nine months, demonstrated member's ignorance of the reports and a lack of understanding around the council's budget by council leader and committee chair, cllr Sohail Munawar.

A decision has now been postponed until the next cabinet meeting in September - just weeks before the refurbishment is due to get underway.

Ricci Hodgson, founder of disabled skating group Special People on Ice (SPICE), said: “I am frustrated and disappointed. It’s not fair that all the groups should have to live in this uncertainty. This has taken over my life.”

When cllr Joginder Bal, commissioner for environment and leisure - the lead councillor on the leisure strategy - was questioned on a section of the report, he deflected the query to council officers.

And when the finance budget was discussed during the same meeting, cllr Rob Anderson and cllr James Swindlehurst - former leader and deputy attending as backbenchers - were forced to explain specifics around the council's General Reserves fund to cllr Munawar.

Following an overview and scrutiny meeting (O&S) on Thursday last week, a recommendation had been put forward to cabinet to approve a full size temporary rink.

Speaking at the O&S meeting, Steve English, head of operations for Slough Jets, said it would cause irreparable damage to ice hockey in the town, a loss of jobs and a potential loss of £100,000 in income – the amount brought in by the groups – due to the groups facing closure if a temporary rink was not provided.

However, members of Thursday's committee meeting also demonstrated they had either not read or did not understand the report. Cllr Rajinder Sandhu, Upton, attempted to discuss the viability of the entire £7.7 million rink refurbishment - a scheme which was approved in January by the council.

During a time when constructive discussion was imperative, both meetings descended into chaos with insults being hurled across the room.

The leader of the council eventually concluded more work needed to be done to "explore other avenues" and details around the cost of a temporary facility needed to be more specific.

Figures presented to members for the potential cost of a temporary facility ranged from £623k to £1.2 million - admittedly the "worst case scenario" according to Roger Parkin, strategic director for customer and community services.

Cllr Munawar confirmed the council still planned to commence work from October 31.