More ‘Wallyworld’ woe

Exterior, Leisure World, Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead.
Exterior, Leisure World, Jarman Park, Hemel Hempstead.

LEISUREWORLD has been dealt another body blow with the sudden closure of Hotshots bowling alley.

Staff were called to a meeting on Tuesday and told the attraction would be shutting immediately with the loss of 30 jobs.

The move comes hard on the heels of the closure of the Lava and Ignite nightclubs and party bar JJ’s in September.

Luminar, which owns the clubs and bars at LeisureWorld, blamed the first wave of closures on poor performance and last week the firm went into administration.

A further 10 clubs owned by the company up and down the country will also close.

Administrators Ernst & Young said in a statement: “This exercise represents an acceleration of management’s ongoing turnaround plans for the business and reflects a rationalisation of loss-making clubs already identified as non-core.”

The closures still leave Planet Ice, Aquasplash, the Empire Cinema, Burger King and Pizza Hut open for business at the Jarman Park site, popularly known as Wallyworld and hailed as a big step forward for the town’s leisure scene when it first opened for business in 1995

Heath Rhodes, communications manager for Planet Ice and Aquasplash, said: “We’re not going anywhere.”

He said the smoking ban had sounded the death knell for many clubs and bars.

“At one point there was something like 100 bars a week closing down. For those who run bars and clubs I think they’re going to have to rethink their business strategy,” he said.