New family soft play centre to open at Riverhead after shock closure of Captain's Cove

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 May 2019

A new children's soft play centre is to open in the Grimsby town centre unit left empty after the sudden closure of Captain's Cove.

Play XL is expected to open its doors at the Riverhead, on Frederick Ward Way, by early June - in plenty of time for the school summer holidays.

It comes after staff and parents were left shocked when the popular Captain's Cove ceased trading in February, with many youngsters left heartbroken as plans for birthday parties had to be changed.

But it has now been confirmed that the unit will come back to life as Play XL, which is thought to be part of House of Play, one of the UK's largest companies in soft play equipment.

Kevin Bowles from Play XL said: "We have been looking at the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area for some time and when this opportunity came along, we knew we would have to act quickly.

"The position in the town centre, close to the main buses and shopping centre, is ideal for us.

Play XL is set to open in the same unit as Captain’s Cove, which ceased trading in February (Image: Paige Freshwater)

"We are spending the next few weeks decorating, getting the premises ready and planning on opening in early June."

Play XL will have soft play climbing frames, slides and ball pools, along with a café and seating areas.

Children will be able to attend soft play sessions and book for birthday parties or other special occasions.

Mr Bowles added: "We are going to make this a great place for kids, their friends, their parents and grandparents to come and spend a few enjoyable hours.

"We will be serving great food in our café and the play equipment will have the children wanting to come back for more."

The letting of the unit was organised by commercial property agents Scotts and officials said in just a matter of weeks, numerous viewings were conducted, business plans were prepared and equipment bought, with the keys handed over to the new operator just after the May Bank Holiday.


Inside Captain's Cove ahead of its opening in 2015 (Image: Rick Byrne)

Lawrence Brown, a partner at Scotts, said: "I know there were a lot of disappointed children in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area when Captain's Cove closed suddenly a few weeks ago, but we know that Play XL had been looking at being in this area for some time so we approached them with this opportunity.

"It just goes to show how, if everyone works together with a common share aim, then deals can be structured quickly and vacant premises can be reoccupied."

Captain's Cove was opened in October 2015 by Laceby businesswoman Anna Burnett, who aimed to attract up to 11,000 visitors per year.

It was her "dream" to open a family-friendly business which would allow her to work around her two children, and when speaking to Grimsby Live she said the cost of creating the centre with its slides, nets, rides, go-karts, among more, ran into "six figures".

However on February 26, a sign appeared outside its door which read: "This company has now creased trading.  Should you require any information, please contact Gibson Booth Business Solutions and Insolvency Ltd."



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