WORKERS at a popular children’s play centre have told of their devastation after it was forced to close its doors for good.
Molly’s Play Centre, based at Ocean Terminal, shut on Thursday, with all 13 staff losing their jobs.
It is understood the centre, which has operated for more than seven years, was struggling to pay a tax bill and was said to have entered into negotiations with an investor over a restructuring and expansion plan that would have allowed it to pay its debts and continue trading.
But the liquidation order was said to have been issued after the court ruled the firm had failed to file legal documents connected to the restructuring.
Lorraine Politi, owner- director of Molly’s Play Centre, said she was furious at being forced to close.
“No-one seems to want to support smaller businesses and the other question to ask is why a company like ours is even paying VAT. We were paying 20 per cent in VAT for children running around exercising at a time when everyone’s talking about obesity and the cost to the NHS.”
Mrs Politi said she had asked liquidators if she could open the centre for free for a group of 12 children who had been booked in for today.
She said: “We said we would do it free of charge and without paying staff and the liquidators would not even allow that.
“That’s 12 children who have been waiting excitedly for their party at Molly’s but it still wasn’t allowed to go ahead. They said it was due to insurance purposes and because they thought we would have to pay the staff.”
Emmett Christie, manager of Molly’s Play Centre, said: “For me personally, this is absolutely devastating – particularly in the current climate. So many lives will be, if not ruined, then really badly affected by this. I have mortgage repayments to make.”
He added: “It directly affects the local economy as well. We have to cancel an order with a local bakery, as well as orders with companies based elsewhere in Scotland.
“My boss has done her best to make sure everyone has been kept informed but this has come out of the blue.
“I was in there painting on Tuesday and setting out tables when Lorraine phoned. That’s how much of a surprise it was.”
Dennis Jones, manager of Ocean Terminal, said he was aware that the play centre had ceased trading and that a search had begun for a new tenant.
He said: “We’ve spoken with our letting agents and they will go out and identify suitable proposals – we’re expecting there will probably be interest in the premises quite quickly.”
“We would listen to any proposal at this point. We’ll do everything we can to support people but we need to think about the loss for our customers. We’re looking to get the premises back up and running as quickly as possible.”