“We very much regret...”

OCEAN Bowling has been given notice to vacate its premises at Ravenside Business Park by November 21 with the loss of around 15 jobs.

Trading as Lazerace Limited, Ocean Bowling has been a landmark leisure attraction in the area for twenty three years. Retail giants Marks and Spencers will be taking over the premises to make way for a new store.

Manager Chris Karitzis said he was saddened by the decision to close. “We very much regret that Ocean Bowling, which has been serving the communities of Bexhill, Hastings, St Leonard’s, Battle and beyond, providing both exercise and fun for many people for the past 10 years, will sadly be closing its doors.”

The exact number of staff who will loose their jobs has yet to be confirmed but Mr Karitzis believes it will be approximately 15 employees, including himself. At this time staff have not been offered alternative positions with Hampshire based Lazerace.

In order to meet the mid-November deadline Mr Karitzus said Ocean Bowling will need to close its doors prior to the official vacation date. “Land Securities, the owners of Ravenside Retail and Leisure Park, have given us notice to vacate the premises by November 21. We will need time to dismantle the equipment in an orderly manner and will let readers know our closing date as soon as we have a detailed plan in place. We would like to thank our customers for their commitment to us and our loyal staff for providing a helpful and friendly service.”

Campaigners are hopeful that a suitable location for a new ten pin bowling alley will be found. Mary Kemp, Organiser of the Monday Morning Bowling League, said: “The Campaign will continue to commit as much as necessary of the £1 million compensation Rother is receiving for the loss of Ocean Bowling at Ravenside Retail and Leisure Park on purchasing a plot of land in Bexhill. We are supported by Bexhill Labour Party, Bexhill Liberal Democrats, the Hastings & Bexhill Youth Bowling League, the Bexhill Alliance and the Independent Councillor for St Stephen’s ward as well as several other bowling leagues and groups. Our petition has over 1,200 signatures and is growing daily.”

Alan Bearne, chairman of Bexhill Labour Party, said: “I’m sad for the excellent staff facing loss of employment at a difficult time to secure rewarding paid work.”

• Sign the petition at Ocean Bowling.