A SOFT play business has shut down for good despite telling those who had booked children’s parties that it was only closed for roof repairs.
When the Mail visited Little Rascals, in Bretby Business Park last week, its staff refused to dismiss rumours that the popular children’s venue will close permanently.
When asked by the Mail if the venue was shutting down, the manager said she would not comment and asked us to leave the building, likening the rumours to that of a ‘witchhunt.’
However, a spokesman for Bretby Business Park has now confirmed the rumours are true, but added that parents who had parties booked would be refunded, saying: “They are not leaving people high and dry.”
She said: “If anyone wants to write in to the business park for a refund, (Little Rascals) staff will be coming to collect mail.”
On its own Facebook page which has now been shut down, Little Rascals said to its followers: “Wishing all our little rascals a happy new year. We are closed for January for building works which we have informed people about. We will keep you posted regarding our re-opening date.”
Many parents who had parties booked with Little Rascals, which has also shut down its website, contacted the Mail saying they have not been told about any permanent closures and as a result fear they have lost money if the venue closed for good.
Kerry Poole, from Stapenhill, has a birthday party booked for her son who turns six in September.
She said: “Back in October, Little Rascals had an offer on where you could have a children’s party for 10 people for £38. Then it came out that Little Rascals could be closing so I went to the security gates at the business park where security told me I should write a letter addressing it to Little Rascals but they won’t be there so what’s the point?
“I am disappointed the way they have gone about it. If they knew they needed to close, they shouldn’t have taken bookings and they haven’t told anyone what is going on.”
Single parent of four, Jackie McDonald claims the first she knew about any alleged closures was when she logged on to Facebook.
She said: “I paid £38 for a party for 10 people for August 18 so alarm bells were going off when I saw comments on Facebook. £38 isn’t a lot of money but I am a single parent so it is important.
“Why should we write to get our money back? They should be telling us what is happening.”
Another mother who had a party booked in January was called by Little Rascals in November who apologised saying they were closing in January for major roof refurbishment and offered her a full refund on the party which she received within two days.
Jungle Madness, which is six miles away from Little Rascals, in Donisthorpe, is offering a discounted price to any families affected by Little Rascals’ closure.
Phil Nolan from the centre said: “It is quite a sensitive situation but we were keen to help so what we decided to do is offer the top party package for £50 less than usual.”
He said he had heard a few months ago about the closure of Little Rascals due to a roofing problem.
He said: “The roofing problem story didn’t seem to make any sense because in the soft play world after Christmas and going into spring are the busiest times.
He added: “It is an on-going offer for anybody affected by the sudden closure of Little Rascals. We would need to see proof of purchase.
“We would urge people to give us a call because we want to help if we can.”
Mother-of-two Kirsty Batty from Newhall had booked a party for her four-year-old daughter’s birthday, due to be held on February 2, and has now rebooked with Jungle Madness.
She told the Mail: “I had booked the party at Little Rascals and then I found out that they were closing on New Year’s Eve.
“My daughter cried when I told her there was no party.”