Jump In Trampoline Park has been told it must leave its Morley Road premises by May 31 after the landlords gave notice to quit at the end of the current lease.
The site will now be taken over by Atom, a large and highly successful drinks company which occupies both neighbouring units – and put in a better offer.
Jump In has conducted what it described as ‘an exhaustive search’ of other potential sites in and around Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells but has failed to find a local solution.
It has eight other trampoline parks across the country, and this is the first one that has had to close. Both the company and the Morley Road site are profitable.
Gavin Lucas, founder and Chief Executive of Jump In, said: “We have been searching for alternative premises across the region south of London for some time, and are exploring some options for relocation.
“Nevertheless, it is likely that Jump In will be leaving Tonbridge if a local site is not secured.”
He added: “We feel we provide a hugely popular outlet for fun physical activity for children. In the context of a childhood obesity crisis and increasingly screen-dominated daily life, this would be a sad loss for the local area.”
Jump In has established strong links with the town, working with a variety of partners since it opened four years ago including schools, charities and sports groups.
The third of nine Jump In parks to open across the UK, it attracted more than 100,000 visitors through its doors last year.
It has become a valuable resource for people with disabilities and special needs since the launch of its popular Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Rebound Therapy sessions – as featured in the Times last week.
Camilla Gould, of Meadows Barnardos SEN School in Southborough, said: “We have used Jump In regularly since it opened.
“Our pupils have various diagnoses, they have suffered adverse childhood experiences and have found it difficult to cope in mainstream settings.
“The children visit Jump In during school time as a way to relax, have fun, practise and improve their communication and interaction skills. They are sorely disappointed that this facility is closing.”
Gemma Stapeley, Community Manager at Special Educational Needs Support in Tunbridge Wells, said: “It is a fantastic venue for our SEN group, safe, understanding, accessible but importantly, huge fun for everyone.
“We receive hugely positive feedback from those that attend. I’m not sure there are many locations that work so well for our families.”
Tonbridge parent Jenny Overal says the park has been a lifeline for her two children, who both have special needs.
“The SEN sessions run there are invaluable to us, it gives them somewhere to let off steam safely without the noise and busy environment,” she said. “It’s one of the very few places where both my children are settled.”
Another parent, Kelly Toal, added: “My daughter, who has special needs, visits Jump In every week with her carer after school. She absolutely loves her visits and they have very much become part of her weekly routine.
“The jumping itself is so beneficial in burning off energy, helping her sensory issues and building her strength. It would be such a shame to lose this facility so close to home.”
Among the local clubs that will also be left without a venue is Razzamataz Theatre School, which has been hiring space for two years.
Principal Eve Aston said: “I am all too aware of how popular this facility is amongst my students and their families.
“All the facilities are ideal for my holiday workshops and weekly years sessions and they are most active in the community, even sponsoring a student to attend my theatre school each term.”
For some there are now doubts over the future of their own businesses. Nicola Holmes, founder of Willow Yoga classes, said: “It is very sad news that Tonbridge may be losing Jump In when it is a facility used by such a diverse cross-section of the community from toddlers to octogenarians.
“I have been hiring one of the party rooms upstairs to run my yoga classes four or five days a week for two years. This represents around 90 per cent of my classes and without a room I no longer have a business.”
Lizzy Leadbetter, a regular visitor with her childminding group, said: “It’s been amazing for a group of us local childminders to have a session there twice a month for affordable prices and the kids love it there.
“The children will definitely miss it and will struggle to find somewhere so accommodating to go to.”
James Lark, Matt Boughton and Jon Botten, the borough councillors for Medway ward where the trampoline park is located, issued a joint statement in response to the news.
They said: “We are extremely sad to learn that the very successful company Jump In in Morley Road are having to relocate due to the lease on their current location not being extended.
“They provide a healthy, active and energetic location for old and young alike as well as supporting a number of local clubs.
“We have made some constructive suggestions to Jump In which we hope will enable them to stay in Tonbridge.”
Cllr Lark told the Times: “The council’s Economic Regeneration Officer has found a building within 1km of the current location. Whilst it may not be ideal, it is a good unit and is nearer the retail area of the industrial estate.”
Jump at the chance
Jump In are keen to hear from any landlords or property owners in the Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells area who have a 20,000 to 35,000 sq ft space available now or in the near future. They are invited to contact email@example.com
For more information visit gojumpin.com/locations/