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Mystery as Walsall bowling alley suddenly shuts

By Jack Averty | Bloxwich | News | Published:

A bowling alley has shut its doors without warning leaving customers mystified.

The MFA bowling alley on the Old Hall Industrial Estate. Photo: Google

MFA Bowl, based on the Old Hall Industrial Estate in Bloxwich, suddenly shut its doors last week with no word given to customers as to why.

It is thought between 10 and 15 people have lost their jobs at the site.

Although the operator has not clarified the situation, Peter Gwilt - who has run a league at the Revival Street venue for 25 years - confirmed it has closed.

The 63-year-old from Bloxwich said: "It is terrible.

"It is the end of an era. It has been a big thing up there, I have probably generated £150,000 a year for the place. Now it has all gone kaput."

Mr Gwilt ran the Facepunch Studios Thursday Doubles League which had 11 teams and around 30 players in total - although at its peak it had around 100 people.

He claimed machinery would regularly break down and was desperately in need of investment.

While he also said it had also been hit by a couple of break-ins in recent weeks with raiders smashing up the gaming machines.

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Mr Gwilt said: "MFA took it over five years ago.

"My Sunday league folded because the lanes kept breaking down. My Thursday league went down from 16 teams to 11.

"It has had no new parts or investment. The roof is leaking. I was hoping someone will still be able to take it on but it needs a lot of money spent on it.

"It has been robbed a couple of times as well in the last few weeks."

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A snooker hall and the Q Lounge function suite were also based on the site but have now closed.

Bloxwich East ward councillor Shaun Fitzpatrick has said it is 'disappointing' if the bowling alley has gone for good.

He said: "I hadn't heard anything, my son was in there only the other week.

"I had heard they had a lot of breakdowns with the mechanical side of things but that was it.

"I have been in there with the wife and kids a few times and it has always been full. It was a friendly place.

"It will be disappointing if it has gone for good."

The bowling alley is not available on MFA's website, with the dedicated webpage for the Bloxwich venue having been taken down and the phoneline seemingly been disconnected.

A spokesman from MFA, which operates around 30 bowling alleys across the country, said he had 'no information about that site' when questioned by the Express & Star, while the MFA Bowl Bloxwich Facebook page has twice declined to respond to the paper's messages.

The bowling alley used to be known as G T Leisure Bowl before it was taken over by MFA.

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton

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