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Merlins in Leysdown closing down

By John Nurden

A huge entertainment complex is to close at the end of January and could be bulldozed to make way for houses.

Merlins at Leysdown, Sheppey, has been up for sale since the summer but with no takers the owners, Tommy and Lee Dunne, have taken the shock decision to shut its doors.

They stressed all confirmed bookings will be honoured and their Christmas party night tomorrow with three top Abba, Blues Brothers and 80s tribute acts will go ahead as planned.

Sheppey's biggest entertainment complex could be bulldozed to make way for houses
Sheppey's biggest entertainment complex could be bulldozed to make way for houses

The venue hosted the final Poppy Ball last weekend.

Mr Dunne, who has owned the building for 20 years, confirmed this week: “We will be closing in the early part of next year but we will honour every booking between now and then.

“Nearer the time, we will issue a fuller statement.”

The complex had a major revamp earlier this year when the bar area was converted into a restaurant called the Combine @ Merlins.

An insider admitted: “Everyone is saying it is a shame Merlins is closing but they should have supported the place when they had the chance.”

There has been entertainment on the site for decades with top stars like Doctor Hook, Jim Davidson, Jimmy Jones, Bobby Davro and Chas ‘n’ Dave appearing there.

It was formerly known as the Crest Club. The complex originally went up for sale for £1.69 million but can now be snapped up for £995,000 from Ramsgate estate agents Xpertagents.

Bobby Davro with owners Tommy and Lee Dunne
Bobby Davro with owners Tommy and Lee Dunne

Award-winning Minster magician Matty Evans, who entertained at the recent Poppy Ball, began his showbusiness career at Merlins 16 years ago as a doorman, sound engineer and DJ.

He posted on social media: “I cannot thank Merlins enough for giving me the opportunities to show off my talent.

“We have two shows left. It’s going to be emotional.”

Estate agents say the building, which sits at the entrance to Leysdown, includes a bar, restaurant and huge function room with stage and sound system, offers “potential for demolition” and a “number of houses,” subject to planning permission.

It is on a prime site at the entrance to Leysdown and includes a large car park opposite.

The pub and function hall in Leysdown Road had its licence temporarily suspended by Swale council last year after a man was attacked outside its premises.

The area has already been rocked with news that Talk of the Town, the resort’s next biggest pub, is also up for sale following the retirement of Chris and Jackie Prime.

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