Artisan confirms Base takeover talks with Barratt

Carol Ainscow, founder and executive chairman of Manchester-based developer Artisan, today confirmed she is in talks with Barratt Homes about taking full control of the Base joint venture.

The joint venture between Artisan and Barratt Homes launched in 2005 to deliver the Hattersley and West Gorton projects in Manchester.

In a statement, Ainscow said if Artisan were to assume control of Base, it would mean that all four former Base developments would be built by Artisan's construction division.

Ainscow also denied recent media reports that the construction division of Artisan was being closed. She said: "I can categorically deny media reports that Artisan Construction is closing. The performance of the construction division has persuaded me to make changes and I am conducting a thorough cost review.

"Peter Millett, the former managing director of Artisan Construction, has left the company and Paul Curran is currently acting managing director.

"Artisan Construction currently has more than £30m of work, enjoys a robust funding pipeline and is delivering on its current developments."

The former deputy chief executive, Jason Millett, brother of Peter Millett, and finance director Paul Deehan have also left the company in recent weeks.

Barratt has seen its share price dive due to the impact of the credit crunch on house sales and is currently looking to recoup cash to ensure it does not breach debt covenants,

Base's plans for West Gorton were approved by Manchester City Council earlier this year. They include 1,200 new homes and 250 refurbished homes on a 52-hectare site.

In Hattersley, Tameside, planning permission is in place for a £100m scheme to deliver 900 homes across 27 sites.

Base is also responsible for Dale Mill and Trafalgar Street in East Central Rochdale and Spencer Street, Oldham. It also has developments in Yorkshire.

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