HB Leisure finds a new home


A new headquarters building for a company that does business in 18 amusement jurisdictions was opened yesterday in Wales. HB Leisure moved its main offices from Llandudno five miles away to the neighbouring seaside town of Rhyl, which will now be the epicentre of its operating activities which span the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“When I joined my grandfather’s business 30 years ago there were two of us in an upstairs office over a small arcade,” said chairman Tim Batstone to assembled guests at the opening. “I would never have believed that 30 years later we would have a company serving 17 countries and a staff of 50.”

The opening ceremony was performed by his mother, Hilary, unveiling a commemorative plaque in the foyer of the building, in Ffordd Derwen – an existing premises that the company extensively refurbished to provide showrooms, extensive open-plan offices and warehousing, plus surrounding land for car parking and extensions.

For many years the company had worked out of offices over its Royal Arcade, its flagship location in Mostyn Street, Llandudno. Said Batstone: “We had long ago run out of space there and it was a nightmare for our people to park their cars. Now we have an ideal working location with plenty of room for expansion in the future.”

The company was founded in 1927 by Harold Burt, Tim Batstone’s grandfather. Burt was a former fisherman who started a repair business for amusement machines. The company has since grown to become a premium operator of midway-style games and FECs, with contracts all over the world. It works with some of the best-known attractions and parks in the global industry.

It established its international presence with a contract to run the skill games at Wonderland in Dubai and went on from there to enter into partnerships with venues in Switzerland, Germany, more in the UAE, South Africa, Spain, the US, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Malaysia, Italy, the Philippines, Ireland and India.

Addressing the assembled guests, almost entirely staff and family, Batstone paid tribute to the people who had helped build the company over the past 90-plus years. “We now have 50 staff here in Wales and more than 1,500 at the height of our 75 seasonal operations in 18 countries. I am proud of our new offices after the ‘rabbit warren’ that our offices had become in Llandudno where it took half-an-hour to find a parking space.

“Now we have the base for the next 30 years of success.” He introduced his mother, Hilary Batstone, Harold Burt’s daughter, who unveiled the commemorative plaque.

Image: Hilary Batstone unveils the commemorative plaque at the opening.

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