Kinderland shuts down

KINDERLAND will close its doors for good on Sunday after nearly 20 years as one of the most popular attractions in Scarborough.

The play park, which opened in 1985 and has attracted two million visitors over the years, will be demolished if the 120 million North Bay project is approved.

Full planning permission has yet to be given for the North Bay project but if all goes to plan work could start next spring.

Kevin Sykes, who has leased Kinderland from Scarborough Council for the past two years, said the attraction was closing a week earlier than planned. This was because many workers are going back to university.

He said: "Our lease runs out at the end of September and we'll see what happens then.

"Everything's up in the air. We have had an excellent summer and the weather has obviously helped. The people of Scarborough have been excellent and everyone has really enjoyed themselves.

"If there's another year we would probably take it. It's something I have enjoyed doing and this is a great site.

"It would need work for the start of next season but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

"I want to thank the people of Scarborough for their support."

Kinderland regularly lost money after it opened in 1985 and had debts of more than 750,000 when it went into administration in 2001 including money owed in rents and rates to the council.

The council later came to an agreement with the Sykes family but despite visitor numbers exceeding the 100,000 mark this year, the council said the attraction is "not a viable proposition".

Benchmark's 120 million project to revitalise the North Bay would see Kinderland replaced with an outdoor play area.

Scarborough Council's head of property Graham Price said: "Until the planning application has been considered the position is exactly as Kevin Sykes described."

At a meeting of the full council yesterday, council leader Eileen Bosomworth said: "We expect the Benchmark application to go before planning committees in October.

"It will not be for us to decide. We will simply make a recommendation to Government office."