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Projects in doubt as Thornfield arm collapses

Questions have been raised about the future of some of the country’s largest regeneration schemes after Thornfield Ventures, part of developer Thornfield Properties, went into administration

Deloitte was yesterday (January 7) appointed as administrator to the non-trading holding arm of the HBOS-backed development company. Deloitte claimed it had not been appointed for the Thornfield Bury companies, nor any Thornfield Capital Limited group company – including Thornfield Properties.

However, councils and architects working on a series of projects worth hundreds of millions of pounds, including John McAslan & Partners whose Smithfield development was due to go to planning next month, have been left in the dark about whether their schemes will move forward.

Allies and Morrison is also waiting to hear about the future of its £100 million Silver Hill project in Winchester as well as its huge Hemel Hempstead redevelopment (pictured). Other major schemes such as the £180 million Holmeside project in Sunderland, designed by BDP, and Thornaby may be impacted too.

Meanwhile developer Hammerson has already been brought into finish the almost complete £200 million shopping centre in Bury – designed by BDP – which was Thornfield Ventures’ prize asset.

Phil Bowers at administrators Deloitte said: ‘We are working closely with all stakeholders to support the completion of Bury and maximise the potential of the other development schemes.  It has been agreed by all parties that Hammerson… has been appointed to deliver the completion and opening of Bury and will also be supporting the joint administrators in evaluating the other schemes in the portfolio.’

Postscript

Responding to the news David Walker, chief executive of Sunderland arc which is part of the team behind the Holmeside scheme said: ‘We have been made aware of the developments affecting Thornfield’s holding company. We are reviewing the situation with the administrators, who have assured us they have not been brought in to wind up the company.

‘They are looking to maximise the potential of individual schemes and we have already taken the opportunity to impress upon them the advanced stage of the Holmeside project, the time and money that has been invested by partners, and its importance to the city’s wider regeneration.

‘Holmeside remains a priority for the arc and our partners and we will be doing everything in our power to ensure our plans for this important site are progressed.’

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