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A POPULAR bowling alley threatened with closure has committed to staying in the Havant area.

Senior managers at AMF Bowling said they want to stay trading at Havant Retail Park, off Portsdown Hill Road, for ‘the foreseeable future’.

And, if their lease is terminated, they said they would look to relocate in the immediate area.

It comes as a planning application has been submitted to Havant Borough Council to build 86 homes on the retail park, which also has a Homebase store.

A 25-year lease for AMF Bowling expires on September 28.

The lease for Homebase expires on August 11 and it is not thought this will be renewed.

As reported, planning documents stated that the AMF Bowling was ‘highly unlikely’ to seek renewal of the lease.

But Caroline Atkins, public relations and marketing campaigns manager for AMF’s owners The Original Bowling Company, said: ‘Although a planning application has been proposed by the landlord, we still have a lease agreement in force and we fully intend to continue trading AMF Havant for the foreseeable future.

‘We have not stated that we will be terminating the lease, however, we will review the situation when the lease expires based on the needs of the business and the actions of other leaseholders.

‘We operate within a multi-site area and we need to continue being co-located to maintain the business.

‘The final decision lies with the landlord of the site and the local council – however, it is not our intention to close.

‘We are a keen member of the community and hope to continue providing the same great-value entertainment to our customers in the future.’

The news was welcomed by campaigners, who have collected more than 1,000 signatures.

But agents for the landlords have stated the site may not be viable as a trading area.

Approaches have been made to several companies – including Cineworld, Lidl, M&S, Matalan and Morrisons – with no confirmed offers.

A final decision on the plans will be made at a later date.