THE firm behind a Christmas event billed as Southend’s answer to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has gone into liquidation.

Essex Christmas Wonderland Ltd, the firm behind the Essex Christmas Wonderland held at Southend’s Garon Park, has been issued with a winding-up order.

An update posted on Companies House stated the firm had gone into compulsory liquidation.

The 2021 event was due to take place from December 10 until January 2; however, the gates were closed early on December 27.

According to the company’s Facebook page. this was due to “Covid infection rates soaring”.

Despite shutting early, residents who had pre-booked events such as ice skating claim they have still not received a refund.

Bosses refused to comment when contacted by the Echo, but repeatedly insisted that “all refunds would be paid”.

Indra Kupchenko booked to attend the event to cheer up his son after moving home.

He said: “It is really frustrating, my son was quite emotional about our move, so when we saw ‘winter wonderland’ in Southend, we thought it would be a good way to cheer him up.

“We booked the ice skating for the family, which was £43.50, and despite being told in December, someone from customer service will be in touch within three days, we still haven’t heard anything.

“I contacted the company a few times, but still no refund.

“It is a bad experience. Now I doubt every event in Essex if I have to pay in advance, in case I will end up losing my money.

“I just want my own money back for the service me and my family never received.”

At the time of the event, furious residents branded it as “over-priced” “not as advertised” and “appalling”.

Hundreds of visitors also took to social media to vent their disappointment.

Maria Theresa, 46, from Hadleigh, said she was disappointed with the price, but admitted if there was more value for money it could have been a success.

She said: “It was over-priced for what was there.

“They tried to be like the London Winter Wonderland with the prices but without the same attractions and atmosphere.

“If they would’ve lowered the prices because it was in Southend and not London, I think it would’ve been a better success.

“It was a fantastic idea, and something Southend could really do with, but just not at the prices.”