THE OWNER of a Romsey business is lobbying the government to allow her role play centre to reopen.

Katie Betteridge runs I Wanna Be... role play village in Abbotswood.

The business like other indoor play centres, has been shut since the end of March.

However, the mum-of-two says role play centres are different to ordinary soft play areas and therefore, they should be treated differently.

Katie, 47, said: “The main problem is that people don’t know what we are so we tend to be put in with all the other indoor centres.

“Unlike soft play, we have a booking system so we can quite easily manage the number of people coming in.

“We don’t have such big equipment and we tend to be smaller which makes the cleaning easier.”

As it stands, a reopening date for indoor play centres is yet to be announced.

However, other indoor venues such as trampoline parks have been allowed to resume trading, causing much frustration.

“A lot of places that call themselves family entertainment venues have reopened,” said Katie. “The essence of it is they’re having children inside which is what the government says we shouldn’t be doing so it looks like if you call yourself something different you can reopen with children inside. I don’t understand that.

“All we want is for everyone to be treated fairly. If we had a reopening date it would be brilliant because we could work towards that but at the moment because we don’t have that we don’t have guidance so we don’t know what it will be asked of us.”

As the role play sector is relatively new, Katie says there isn’t a formal body representing it yet. However, a role play forum has been set up in recent weeks to make the case for role play centres to reopen and hold discussions with the relevant government departments.

Katie herself has a meeting arranged with MP Caroline Nokes, who says she has already raised the matter with ministers, on August 5.

She added: “It’s a lovely little village and although we were only open for six weeks before we had to shut, we have already hosted several parties and have regulars."