Children's play centre battered by storm gets a revamp
PUBLISHED: 16:01 24 January 2019
A children’s play centre that was fixed up after being wrecked in a devastating storm now needs a new team to get it up and running again.
The Carlton Fun Factory in Saxmundham suffered extensive damage in Storm David last January, when a quarter of the roof was blown off and the damaged walls and roof crushed the play centre’s reception area, play apparatus and go-karting equipment.
After the 85mph winds died down, further devastation was caused by winter weather entering the building through the now exposed areas.
The team that ran the business were devastated by the closure of the Fun Factory, which was just beginning to expand to provide more facilities, clubs and classes.
Since then the centre, which is on the Carlton Park Industrial Estate on Main Road, has undergone a major refurbishment programme.
A post on the Carlton Fun Factory Facebook page in November stated: “The building work is nearly finished...as soon as we have firm dates, we will be announcing a re-opening. We look forward to seeing you all back at the Factory very soon.”
However, the play centre never reopened, and a petition to wind up the company based at the Fun Factory’s address, which is registered as Hannatt & Smith Limited, was made by HM Revenue and Customs on January 18.
But now the owner of the building, Roger Skinner, having made a large commitment to creating the play centre, is keen to ensure it remains at the heart of the local community, and wants to rent the facility out to a new operational team.
“The current owners of the business were unable to carry on financially, so it leaves the opportunity for somebody with a bit of capital and knowledge of the leisure industry to take it on,” he said. “This play centre could be great for Saxmundham and the surrounding villages. I’m hoping we can find some good souls who can be of service to the community - I would love to see it being used again.
“I have the equipment there, so anybody who wants to take it on could have it up and running very quickly.”
The 20,000sq ft play centre and its £400,000 play frame was brand new when it opened in February 2017.
The Fun Factory held around 20 parties a week, and could fit up to 200 children at a time. It boasts a kitchen and cafe, as well as the play park and reception area.
One of Hannatt & Smith Limited’s directors, Ian Smith, said: “We hope that it the new operational team will succeed, so that the centre remains a community facility that everyone can enjoy.”