Norfolk play centre to close - but may reopen

An indoor children's play centre in Wymondham will close next month after its owners failed to renegotiate a lease.

The Funtime Factory, which has welcomed about 600,000 visitors and hosted more than 9,000 private children's parties over the last 10 years, will shut its doors on October 11.

However, its current owners Darren and Elena Butler are positive the closure will only be temporary as progress is being made towards signing a new lease agreement at a nearby site in the town. The husband and wife team put the Funtime Factory up for sale in August after deciding to concentrate on other business interests.

They have since offered the business to a new couple who were willing to continue the enterprise at it current 11,000 sqft site, in Ayton Road, but failed to successfully negotiate terms with the landlord Peter Colby Commercials.

Plans were also submitted to relocate Funtime Factory to another premises owned by Peter Colby Commercials across the road but the landlord pulled out of the deal having found another use for the building.

Peter Colby, founder of Peter Colby Commercials, said the owners of the Funtime Factory simply chose not to renew the lease on the table but wished them the best for the future.

Mr Butler said his annoyance that negotiations had failed has since been surpassed with excitement since finding a possible new home for the firm.

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If a lease agreement can be signed and planning permission granted, they hope the Funtime Factory will open again within eight weeks of its closure with the new owners taking the helm full-time from December.

The Funtime Factory, equipped with soft play equipment, themed party rooms and a restaurant, opened in 2001. It currently employs a mix of 11 full-time and part-time employees but has hired more than 150 people in its time.

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