A SPLASH park on Canvey has closed with immediate effect after it became too expensive to keep open.

Stay and Splash, at the Paddocks, has provided children with decades of fun-packed days in the summer with its paddling pool, sand pit and children’s play equipment.

For the last four years the site has been successfully managed under lease from Castle Point Council by Kevin and Sarah Walby.

But the ageing venue needs extensive upgrading and refurbishment works and the costs to maintain the site have become too great for the Walbys to sustain, as well as the costs involved with health and safety and pool safety legislation.

Sarah Walby, said: “It is with great sadness that Stay and Splash will cease trading this year.

“After several meetings with the council we have concluded that the investment needed to ensure Stay and Splash continues to operate to the standard we would want it to will cost far too much.

“We would like to thank every single visitor for the support and great times you have given us and our staff over the last four years. We will miss it greatly.

“However, we will continue with talks with the council and are hoping for some exciting news regarding a new splash park.”

Norman Smith, leader of Castle Point Council, added: “The closure of the paddling pool is extremely disappointing as it has been a much loved venue for families.

“Thousands of children over many years have enjoyed the facilities on offer and cooled themselves in the paddling pool’s water.

“We know that many people will have fond memories of visiting the facility which in recent years has been operated by Sarah and Kevin Walby who have worked hard to maintain the site.”

He added: “The council would very much like to provide a modern, well equipped water play area in the future and we are exploring possible options and for a potential new water play