PARENTS have reacted with shock after the sudden closure of Oxford’s only soft indoor play area.
Activity playground iKidz Oxford, which is based at Ozone Leisure Park at Kassam Stadium, closed its doors on Thursday last week and has ceased trading.
A statement on the centre’s Facebook page – which has now been taken down – said a bailiff arrived at the club and gave the business two hours to pay the rent for January to March.
It said: “It is the landlord’s legal right to do what they did, but at such short notice and against all previous arrangements we had with them we were forced to voluntarily liquidate the business.”
Co-owners Rachael Pountney and Chris Sharman declined to comment further on the reasons for the closure.
Ms Pountney told the Oxford Mail: “I am absolutely devastated. I feel like my heart has been ripped out.”
The play centre – which employed 15 staff – opened in May 2011. There is another iKidz in Banbury, which is unaffected by the closure.
Nicci Goddard, from Abingdon, would take her three-year-old son Charlie Goddard to the playground.
The 34-year-old said: “We used it a lot in the school holidays, then every other week in term time.
“It was exceptionally clean and they didn’t charge adult entry.
“The closure is a real disappointment.
“Everyone is really shocked by it because everyone used it so much and they didn’t know why things have had to change.”
Abingdon mum of two Nicky Brock, 37, said: “It is very disappointing because my children love going there, so it is a shame it has closed.”
Abingdon mother of two Laura Becker, 38, said: “I think it is really sad. It is a really good activity playground and we are really gutted about it.”
Landlord Firoka – owned by U’s former owner Firoz Kassam – was contacted several times by the Oxford Mail, but had not commented last night at the time of going to press.
The statement on iKidz Oxford’s Facebook page added: “We are obviously shocked and deeply saddened.
“There are a number of other great soft-play facilities locally and although we will very much miss seeing families having fun within iKidz Oxford. We are sure that facilities in Abingdon, Didcot, Thame and Banbury will continue to provide you all with fun and enjoyable times for you and your children.”