New play centre closes

Closed: Kris Lowton and his wife, Vickie, took over the former Cheeky Monkey's nursery in Bamber Bridge, which they renamed 'Ben's Fun House'
Closed: Kris Lowton and his wife, Vickie, took over the former Cheeky Monkey's nursery in Bamber Bridge, which they renamed 'Ben's Fun House'

A children’s indoor play centre has been forced to close to families.

A sign on the door of Ben’s Fun House, The Old Mill, School Lane, Bamber Bridge, says ‘closed until further notice’.

Kris and Vickie Lowton opened the new business venture in June but it struggled to make enough money.

The attraction, formerly Cheeky Monkey’s, was home to a large play area, slides, ball pools, party rooms, a football area, mascot Rory the dog and a coffee shop which served food including burgers and paninis.

The play centre was named after the couple’s young son Ben and Mr Lowton, who runs his own IT company, was planning to install an internet cafe.

But it has not been open since Christmas Eve, leaving a number of staff out of work over the festive period.

The company’s website is also no longer available.

It is believed the business suffered financial difficulties and was also badly affected by a drop in visitor numbers when the snow hit the county in December. It faced competition from the new Cheeky Monkey’s centre on Kem Mill Lane, Whittle-Le-Woods, and Rascals Play and Party Centre, Capitol Centre, Walton-le-Dale.

A number of families have been left disappointed when they turned up at the play centre only to find the doors locked..

When contacted by the Guardian, Mr Lowton declined to comment.