PARENTS and children have spoken of their shock and disappointment after a popular playcentre in Cirencester suddenly closed down.

MagicLand announced on Monday that it had closed with immediate effect as a result of rising costs, employment issues and lack of parking.

Andrew Baird, the director of MagicLand Playcentre, said they had tried everything to keep the business open, but had been left with no choice but to close.

“The family who have been operating the business since 2011 have been struggling with rising costs, employment issues and lack of parking provision.

“The family has been propping up the business financially for a couple of years and tried to do everything they could to keep the playcentre open and preserve jobs. Unfortunately, that just became untenable and there was no other option for the company than to cease trading.

“The family would like to thank their staff for their hard work and all of the families who have visited us. All customers who have paid deposits for birthday parties will be refunded this week.”

The news came as a blow to parents living around the area who regularly took their children to Magicland during cold or bad weather.

Chloe Willis, 35, from Chesterton, recently moved to the area and often took her eight-year-old son to Magicland after school or during weekends so he could be active.

She said: “It’s a 15-minute walk from us which was perfect as only my husband drives.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Chloe Willis)

“There are not many things for the local children to do that is active especially when the weather is not so good, other than the leisure centre.

“This offered an affordable alternative. It’s a great place for children from my son’s school to meet up and have some fun that doesn’t involve computers and technology.

“This is a real shame for the local area and the staff.”

Lin Graham’s grandchildren, aged three to eight, who live in Cirencester and South Cerney, regularly visited Magicland.

She said: “Numerous birthday parties have been held there, ideal for my daughter who doesn’t drive. During school holidays and rainy weekends she made very good use of Magicland.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Lin Graham)

“It’s a real blow for the families of Cirencester and indeed grandparents like me who enjoyed seeing children so happy in a safe environment.

“My son lives in London, but when he comes back for a visit with his two sons we would have a family gathering at Magicland and it was lovely to see all the cousins having such a wonderful time.”

Lynn Paxford, 56, from Cirencester, also has grandchildren who enjoyed the playcentre: “It’s sad for the youngsters. I have grandchildren that love this place!

“It will affect lots of families in the area, not just my grandchildren, especially those that don’t have cars.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Lynn Paxford, above. Lady Bathurst, below)

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Lady Bathurst, who used the centre as an activity place for her niece and nephew when they stayed in Cirencester, commented: “So sad to hear. I have many happy memories of leaping round there with my niece and nephew when they were little, and was looking forward to introducing my youngest godson to its joys and fun.”

Philippa Smith, 28, from Kemble, who regularly takes her six-year-old son to Magicland, said: “What a shame! One of the only things to do with kids on rainy days, and really difficult for parents who don't drive to get to other places. I think a lot of people will miss Magicland!"

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

(Philippa Smith)

Magicland is now being advised by business recovery and insolvency specialist Steve Elliott of Monahans in Swindon.

If you would like your deposit refunded, Steve can be contacted on 01793 818300