A ROGERSTONE play centre for children has closed with the loss of 38 jobs.

Ezeeplay in Wern Trading Estate, Rogerstone, shut after the company struggled with paying its VAT bill following a difficult winter.

Company director Tracey Bancroft said the firm was subject to a winding up order last month.

She said the company attempted to keep going during half term week, and was looking for a buyer, but wasn’t successful.

All staff members were paid up to last Wednesday.

She and business partner Kath Hubbard started the company in 2006, which Ms Bancroft said had an outstanding VAT bill of £54,000 which it built up over two and a half years.

Following a quiet winter season, which Ms Bancroft said was caused by the weather, the firm was unable to meet the bill.

“We have put our homes at risk and everything we can to keep it [the business] going,” said Ms Bancroft.

“We needed more time to pay - in an ideal world play should not attract VAT, or it should be reduced.

“It puts people off. For indoor play to be successful and survive it needs support from local authorities, the government and support from local communities.”

She said many other play companies have closed over the last few years with many up for sale. The company said play is critical to children's development and that such centres have much to offer government policies.

“It is heart breaking that these play provisions cannot be sustained when they have so much to offer for the local communities and society as a whole,” said Ms Bancroft.

The Ezeeplay site in Lliswerry, which is run by a separate company, remains open.