UK & World News

  • 16 December 2013, 11:45

Winter Wonderland Cancelled After Complaints

A Winter Wonderland event in Milton Keynes has been cancelled after attracting a raft of complaints from parents.

Organisers shut down the event in Campbell Park, which included paid-for events such as ice skating, just a day after it opened on Saturday.

The closure came after parents bombarded a Facebook page with complaints about the quality of the Wonderland.

Perry Smith, who attended the event with his children, described it as a "waste of money and time".

He said: "Santa's grotto wasn't even like a grotto. It had around 20 trees which were not decorated, the grotto was falling apart and could have caused some injuries.

"I was told by a friend that they had turned up to see Santa at 11 o'clock but he did not turn up until 3 o'clock.

"Big sign on the door stating 'closed to technical difficulties'."

Another parent Amy Burge said she had never been so "disgusted in all my life" and she left with three "very upset children" shortly after.

She wrote: "There were two husky dogs one of which was in a small cage and barking, two reindeers which again were in a small pen and could hardly move."

One mother writing on a blog for the Natal Company said her family had paid 42 to pre-book tickets to find "men dressed in Santa outfits from Poundland".

"This was definitely no Wonderland. It felt like an opportunity to rip off parents who had hoped to have a magical day out with their children," she wrote.

Organisers posted a message on the Winter Wonderland MK website, stating: "We regret that this event has been cancelled."

They also promised that anyone who pre-ordered tickets would be issued with full refunds.

The event's charity partner the Papworth Trust said it was "concerned" to hear about the complaints and had withdrawn from the event.

In a statement, the disability charity said: "We are sorry to hear about people's experiences of the day.

"After consulting with our volunteers and listening to the public's feedback, we have sadly decided to withdraw our volunteers and our association with the event."

A spokesman from The Parks Trust, which looks after Campbell Park, said: "Winter Wonderland MK have told us that they will be contacting all the customers on their database to arrange refunds and that people should get in touch with them via their website or by email at"

He added: "Before The Parks Trust hires out any sites out to third parties we do ensure that organisers have robust health and safety policies, are fully insured and have a detailed event management plan in place.

"We also liaise with the local authority and the police through the Safety Advisory Group."

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.