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Sadness as Cleveleys indoor play centre closes amid confusion over long-term future

Knuckleheads when it first opened in 2016.
Knuckleheads when it first opened in 2016.

Knuckleheads indoor play centre, in the former ice rink on the Prom at Cleveleys, has ‘closed permanently’.

The attraction, which also sold food and coffee, was set to be re-branded as the Bounce Factory after being taken over earlier this year.

But the business said online: “Unfortunately Knuckleheads has now closed permanently. 

“We will not be opening again under another name in the same building. We can’t give any more information I’m afraid.

“Thank you everyone who visited and supported us over the time we was there.”

It was not immediately clear whether the business will re-open elsewhere.

During the last school half-term holiday, Knuckleheads made entry £1 per child, saying: “As this is the last half-term as Knuckleheads (before the Bounce Factory opens!), we want to thank everyone for supporting us so far.”

Writing on Facebook on May 16, the company said it would be closing, but said: “Don’t worry, we have a huge transformation coming. Imagine over 80 per cent of the downstairs ... transforming into one giant bouncy play area. There is nothing like this on the Fylde coast and we are massively excited for you to see this.”

The closure is the latest in a long line at the building, on the Jubilee Leisure Park.

It was originally built with the adjacent Vue cinema and planned as a bowling alley. It eventually opened in 2011 as an ice rink called Sub Zero but cash problems followed and, after once re-opening, the owners had to give up.

It was taken over and ran as Jubilee Ice Arena until 2014 before that too came to an end. A community interest company was formed to try and keep it open, but that closed in October 2015.

Knuckleheads opened there in 2016, before closing suddenly late last year because of ‘family health issues’.

Robby Bentham, Sammi Birch, and Damian Duncan teamed up to take over at the start of this year, with around £80,000 set to be invested.

Mr Bentham was not immediately available for a comment when contacted by The Gazette this morning.

Local councillor and Wyre’s cabinet member for children and young people, Andrea Kay, said she did not know why Knuckleheads closed, but said the building is ‘expensive’ to run.

It is not known what the rent was for Knuckleheads, but Adcroft Hilton, brought in to liquidate the charitable trust behind the Cleveleys Ice Arena in 2015, had said the venue’s overhead costs were ‘too high’.

And Coun Kay said: “The building has been quite a few things over the years but I know it’s expensive. Families will be devastated. We are not always graced with this weather and when it’s bad that building fills up with families, and it’s good for children with special educational needs.
“It’s sad to lose it, and I know a lot of children will be upset.”

The news was also met by dismay on social media – as well as some confusion.
David Baker asked: “Does that mean Bounce Factory will be at a new location or not happening now?”