Yarmouth play centre closed
A POPULAR children's adventure play centre has shut after the owners reluctantly decided the business was no longer viable.Parents were forced into making some last minute party arrangements after the sudden closure of the House of Fun in Gorleston.
A POPULAR children's adventure play centre has shut after the owners reluctantly decided the business was no longer viable.
Parents were forced into making some last minute party arrangements after the sudden closure of the House of Fun in Gorleston.
It was a sad day for directors Debbie Debbage and Darren Butler who invested �20,000 opening a new laser range at the England's Lane centre less than two years ago.
The business partners both lost thousands of pounds as a result of closing the centre, which Mrs Debbage had run for the last seven years.
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Two full-time staff members made redundant when House of Fun closed have since found other jobs and customers who had paid deposits to hire the venue given refunds.
The play centre, on Long's Industrial Estate, is not connected to the neighbouring House of Fun Nursery, which remains open for business.
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Mr Butler said: “Debbie and I took it upon us to pay everybody back out of our own pockets.
“There was no winding up order, but just decided we could not pay our debts and had to make the best of a bad situation. We are a victim of the economic downturn, if the business had continued we would have owed even more money. It was a hard decision, but carrying on would have made the situation worse.
“At the time we closed there were 15 or 16 parties booked, but we were able to rearrange for many of them to be held elsewhere.”
Sarah Bannister had to quickly find another venue for daughter Kayla to celebrate her seventh birthday when the venue shut.
Unlike other parents, Miss Bannister is still waiting to receive re-payment for a �40 booking fee.
She was able to make a last minute arrangements to hold the party at the Monkey Business play centre on the Harfreys Industrial Estate.
Miss Bannister said: “I received a phone call saying that House of Fun had closed and I found it all locked up when I went down there the next day.
“Kayla was terribly disappointed when she heard the news and I was most worried she would have nowhere to go for her party, but obviously would like to get my money back too.
A customer service advisor with rail operator National Express, Miss Bannister, from Gorleston, would regularly take Kayla and her friends to House of Fun before it closed.
Mr Butler said: “I am sorry Miss Bannister has not got her money back, a cheque was posted to her and I can guarantee that we will re-send another.”