THE decision to close a popular soft play centre was out of the company’s hands, according to its owner.

As previously reported in The Gazette, JJ’s soft play centre in Morse Road, Brookvale, closed its doors for the last time on Tuesday, 4 September.

After 15 years in the town, the decision to close was due to uncertainly over the future of the site lease.

“It was a decision that was out of our hands,” said JJ’s owner Darren Lamb.

“We got a new landlord about two years ago and we knew that the lease was coming up for renewal in October.

“There was some uncertainty, so we took the decision to not take anymore party bookings for after the six week summer holidays.”

JJ’s announced its closure via a post on Facebook which read: “This is not our choice, but being a profitable independent business is not always enough in a corporate world.”

Despite the closure all full-time staff at JJ’s have been offered alternative employment at the 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park and Family Farm in Headley, which is also run by Mr Lamb.

Mr Lamb said it was a sad situation to have to close JJ’s but reflected on the positive impact the soft play centre had for families in Basingstoke and Deane.

He added: “When we first opened there was a real buzz as we were told by people there was nowhere like us where people could take their young children.

“Over the years we have had staff who came here as children and then have brought there children here, and we created a real community here.

“It wasn’t just all fun and parties, what people didn’t realise is the health benefits it provided to young children running around and working up a sweat.”

In its time in the town, JJ’s hosted more than 20,000 parties with more than one million children using the facilities.