A new bowling and entertainment complex in Reading is still going ahead, despite a delayed opening date.

Bowl Central has taken over the old Dawsons Music Shop at 65 Caversham Road near the town centre with plans to convert the space into an entertainment complex.

The transformation of the old shop will introduce bowling, interactive darts, arcade games and a bar area where guests can enjoy food and drinks.

However, initial hopes to have the space up and running by this summer have fallen flat as little change has happened at the unit and the Dawsons branding remains in place despite the company becoming defunct in December 2021.

But Bowl Central has reassured locals that the project is still moving forwards.

Tracy Standish, the director of Bowl Central, explained: “We are starting preliminary work in the next week or two.

“The project is going ahead. We are working on a plan to get it open before Christmas.

“Early December is what is being anticipated.

“A few pieces have to drop into the puzzle to be tied up in time for Christmas.”

Delays to the opening Bowl Central’s second site in Fareham reportedly had an impact on work at the Reading site.

Reading Chronicle: Tracy Standish, managing director of Bowl Central. Credit: Tracy StandishTracy Standish, managing director of Bowl Central. Credit: Tracy Standish

Mr Standish explained: “We don’t have any external obstacles, it’s all on us to put the puzzle pieces in place.

“We are pricing the contract, so once that’s done we can move to fixing the programme.

“We were set back opening in Fareham, we should have opened in January but that was pushed back to March, which has had a knock-on effect on Reading.

“The contract is being priced, we are putting funding together.

“Hopefully we can make a commitment to the project at the end of this month and we hope to move ahead before Christmas.”

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In preparation for its opening, the company submitted a licensing application and a planning application for branding to Reading Borough Council  – this was approved last August.

Initially, Bowl Central had applied to sell food and alcohol and play music until midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

But after concerns raised by the Bell Tower Community Association, which represents neighbours in the area, the hours were scaled back.

Bowl Central now has permission to open from 10am to 11pm from Sunday to Thursday, and 10am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.