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London Pleasure Gardens goes into administration weeks after opening

PUBLISHED: 16:12 03 August 2012 | UPDATED: 12:19 06 August 2012

The troubled London Pleasure Gardens attraction in Silvertown has entered voluntary administration, it was confirmed today.

The event, made possible after a £3.3 million loan by the council, laid off its bar staff on Tuesday, the Recorder can reveal.

Workers were told a “lack of business” made the bars unviable because expected customers leaving Olympic events at the nearby ExCeL arena failed to materialise.

The venue’s collapse means traders working on site and former employees will have to deal with administrators Deloitte to claw back any payment owed.

A Newham Council spokesman confirmed its last payment to LPG was made shortly before the Olympics.

“The decision by London Pleasure Gardens Limited to enter into voluntary administration is regrettable but understandable, he said.

“It is disappointing that the anticipated visitor numbers and revenue from recent planned events have not materialised.

“We continue to believe that the site has a viable long term future as a visitor attraction and destination. We will now work with the administrator once appointed to help secure our investment and to discuss the future scope and nature of our involvement.”

Work started on the attraction after its directors won the Mayor of London-backed Meanwhile London Competition to redevelop brownfield sites.

LPG creative director Deborah Armstrong also quit last week.

Explaining the decision on her blog, she wrote: “I don’t feel now like its following the vision that we set out to do but its important to maintain that - its the whole point.

“Hopefully the road will swing toward it again at some point.”

Curleen Williams, whose 20-year-old daughter Monique was one of those made redundant, said they were hoping for salaries to be paid today (Friday).

The Upton Park resident added: “She loved her job and she was very, very excited to get it. She’s just so upset.

“We have invested money in this as Newham residents. Where has all that money gone?

The LPG opened in a blaze of publicity on June 30 and more than 40,000 people descended on the site for its opening weekend.

But it emerged that the site did not deliver on what had been promised, with some visitors complaining of excessive dust and unforeseen delays.

One week later, the keenly anticipated Bloc festival, featuring Snoop Dogg, was cancelled because of overcrowding. The firm behind Bloc subsequently went into administration and an investigation was launched into the fiasco.

Rob Harding and Lee Manning, partners at Deloitte, the business advisory firm, have been appointed as administrators.

Mr Harding said: “Unfortunately, London Pleasure Gardens has underperformed against its original business plan both in respect of festival activity and far fewer visitors than originally envisaged passing through the site and using its facilities.

“We are now in discussions with all of the key stakeholders with a view to ensuring continuity of services on the site, whilst seeking purchasers for the business and assets, which include significant semi-permanent event structures.”

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