A children’s play centre in North Camp will be closing in March to make way for flats.
After planning permission was granted by Rushmoor Borough Council in 2011 to redevelop the site on Camp Road, Fizzy Kids has announced it will be closing on Saturday March 29 as its lease expires.
The play area and party centre, which caters for children from the age of six months to nine years, provides a toddler area where parents can watch their children play, as well a soft play area for older children, which includes rope bridges, tunnels and slides.
The centre can also be hired for children’s parties, and runs special parties where children can dress up and take part in games and craft activities.
Planning permission for the site is due to expire in May so once Fizzy Kids has closed, the building and the flats above it will be demolished to make way for a four-storey building, containing two retail or leisure units and 22 flats above. It will also have a new access and parking. The two new units will have 22 parking spaces, and cycle and bin storage areas.
The three upper floors of the building will provide 22 flats, comprising eight one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom units.
The lease on the building was due to expire in November 2011, but was extended until March this year.
Chris Scott, manager of Fizzy Kids, said: “It’s very sad that it’s going, it’s been running for 12 years and it’s been very popular with the local community. We really appreciate the customers that have supported Fizzy Kids over the years and we have some fantastic staff as well.”
He said during the winter months Fizzy Kids would hold around 15 to 20 parties a week for children.
In a report submitted alongside proposals, a spokesperson for Gregory Gray Associates, on behalf of the applicant Amprop, said the existing buildings had a ‘somewhat run down character and appearance’ and were reaching the end of their serviceable time.
It said Fizzy Kids presented a ‘bland and uninviting facade’ to the road. Objections to the plans were submitted by the occupants of Fizzy Kids, as well as nearby local residents, who felt the business was in great demand and was an ‘asset to the local community’.
The objections stated that many retailers in North Camp rely on passing trade and directly benefit from Fizzy Kids’ presence in the town.
Residents also said that the development would be ‘inappropriate’ and too dominant and said that Fizzy Kids was being forced out of business by the proposals.
The council offered Fizzy Kids occupancy of one of the new units, however, Mr Scott said it would not be viable for them to continue.
He said: “It was never going to be achievable, the units are very small. It would be more like a small shop and it’s just not the right size.
“It’s probably come at the right time, there’s a lot of competition in the area.”
Members of staff will have to find new jobs once the centre closes next month.
Children who have received birthday vouchers for Fizzy Kids through the Junior News & Mail will be able to use them until the centre closes. The Junior News & Mail is now issuing vouchers for Archies LaunchPad play centre in Farnham.