NEW McDonalds and KFC restaurants in Stourbridge are being blamed for the closure of a once popular indoor skatepark.

Gavin and Serena Pardoe said they were devastated to shut Unit3Sixty for good on Sunday, but a dramatic drop in takings has forced their hands.

The not-for-profit community initiative company in Mill Race Lane was £100,000 adrift in the months between January to September 2018 compared with the same period last year.

They said youngsters would rather spend money at nearby fast food restaurants McDonald’s, KFC or stay at home playing Fortnite.

The once profitable café at the skatepark took an immediate knock when the fast food restaurants opened in 2017, particularly as they had to serve healthy food as part of an agreement for funding from Dudley Health Authority.

Mr Pardoe, aged 45, said: “It’s such a shame for the town to lose a fantastic asset.

“We had very bad weather in the winter, a long run of sunshine which kept people outdoors and then those three major chains put us seriously behind on our turnover.

“The council have allowed these multi-national chains to come in, and I appreciate people should be given a choice, but it undoes all our good work."

Councillor Keiran Casey, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “I am really sad to hear the decision has been taken to close Unit3Sixty as I know what an important facility this was for the local community.

"We appreciate the owners are frustrated by the impact of new businesses on their trade but when determining a planning application for any new business the council is bound by planning guidance.

“The council has given significant financial help in recent years through start-up and public health grants, discretionary rate relief and loans to support the business as much as possible.

"I want to make sure we are doing everything possible to work with the owners and see whether there is anything else the council and its partners can do to help."

Mr Pardoe says the computer game Fortnite has also had an impact.

He said: “Also, since Fortnite came out kids are all over it and want to play that rather than keep fit and active.

“As a result we can’t pay our bills and we had to make the very difficult decision last week to close for good.

“We’re going to lose a fantastic facility for Stourbridge.”

Though Gavin is not on the payroll, Serena and six other members of staff have been made redundant.

However, there is a glimmer of hope as Mr Pardoe hopes to set up a crowdfunding site which could raise enough to pay the rent and open over the typically busy autumn and winter period.

He added: “We are looking at others avenues to raise funds but it would need to be very immediate, by the end of this week or the end of the week at the very latest.”

Unit3Sixty was opened in 2014 after a massive community effort to fund its opening through grants.

The news was posted on Unit3Sixty’s Facebook page and has been met with sadness.

Mr Pardoe said: “The support on our social media has been overwhelming.

“They don’t want to see it close especially with dark nights coming when outdoor facilities will be unusable.

“We do everything the council wants in terms of healthy young people: healthy food, social inclusion. We’re combatting mental health issues and loneliness – we’re one big family, everyone’s welcome.

“All our staff are first aid trained, they’re CRB checked.

“Sadly, they are going to lose their jobs and the town is going to lose an asset.”

For updates and information on crowdfunding, visit