Building firmís collapse delays garden opening

Date: 20th July 2011

Publication: Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool's Festival Gardens will not re-open until September after the contractor who developed the site collapsed. Mayfield Construction had been appointed by developer Langtree to redevelop the south Liverpool gardens, which were due to re-open next week after a £3.7m refurbishment.

But Knowsley-based Mayfield called in administrators after trading was hit by the downturn. All bar three of the company’s 75 staff have lost their jobs and the remaining staff are working to sell the company’s assets.

The Garden Festival complex has lain unused since the festival in 1984, but Langtree has bought the site and plans to build up to 1,374 new homes there.

The restoration of the Gardens is the first part of its redevelopment plan.

Langtree managing director John Downes said: “We are sad that Mayfield has found itself in this predicament having almost completed the works necessary at the site.

“Good people have lost their jobs,† he opening date for the gardens will unfortunately be delayed and we, like a† mumber of other companies, are likely to lose money as a result of Mayfield’s collapse. We are now working very hard behind the scenes to identify a new contractor to complete the works and we hope to have some† positive news very soon.

“I know from personal experience how keen people are to see the new gardens and it is frustrating that they will have to wait a little longer.

“However, I can assure you that it will be worth the wait.”

Work on the gardens was virtually complete. The work included building four bridges, while 5,000 decorative pagoda roof tiles were imported from China. While it hunts for a new contractor, Langtree has drafted in “emergency ground maintenance staff”.

Langtree is still in talks with potential development partners for the housing development on the Garden Festival site. The plans were put on hold in 2008 when previous partner, David McLean, collapsed.

Fiona Taylor and Colin Dempster, of Ernst & Young, were appointed joint administrators to Mayfield earlier this month. They were called in by t company’s directors.

Ms Taylor said: “We are currently undertaking a full review of the company’s financial position, but it is clear that cashflow difficulties resulting from lower-than-expected revenue anddelays in contracts and receipt of income are at the heart of the issue.

“This is due in part to the inclement weather at the turn of the year and the tough trading conditions that continue to impact the construction industry.”†

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