Middlewood Plaza Liverpool Street Salford 2
Plans for the £29m Middlewood Plaza in Salford. Credit: via planning documents

High Street Group collapses

Julia Hatmaker

The Newcastle company had previously been involved with the £29m Middlewood Plaza project in Salford and the £49m Cheshire Junction scheme in Warrington.

Insolve Plus director Anthony Hyams and SKSi director Carrie James have been appointed as joint administrators of High Street GRP by an order of the Insolvency and Company Court.

High Street Group, which was founded by chairman Gary Forest, had debts of at least £75m according to the court, which also said that by the end of the administration process those debts could total £212m. High Street Group owes money to approximately 1,500 investors.

James said that part of her task as administrator would be realisation of assets and an investigation into the events that led to the company going bust.

“We will engage with investors committees, all creditors and other stakeholders in the coming weeks and we will be providing a dedicated channel for these communications,” James said.

“At this time, it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment or to speculate on the outcome of our investigation. However, we will issue further statements in due course.”

Two auditors had resigned from High Street Group within a year – with PwC dropping out first in September 2020. In a statement on Companies House, PwC wrote: “Since our appointment we have obtained information that leads us to conclude that the company’s control environment is not sufficiently robust to enable us to obtain reliable audit evidence.

“Management has failed to provide accurate and timely explanations in response to recent specifications nor has complete evidence been provided in response to those questions.”

PwC went on to describe delays in information being provided to the team and that, when information had been given, it was not “of the required quality”.

Haines Watts resigned as auditors in September 2021 because of “increased credit risk following non-payment of previously agreed fees”.

Earlier this year, High Street Group had recruited support from more than 87% of its investors for a rescue plan, which delayed when the investors would see a return. At the time, an investor told Place North West that they had “little choice” in backing the amendment if they wanted to protect their financial commitment.

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What will happen to all the stranded assets and the deposits various investors mad on their off plan developments. Some even exchanged contracts. Will the successor company inherit these or will they disown the contracts?

By Sale

Sale – If the investors are lucky they may get a few pence in the pound but I suspect that secured creditors will be owed more than will be recovered, so investors will lose 100%.

The purchasers of the schemes from the administrator will have no liability to existing investors.

By Mrqs

The Middlewood Plaza did at least complete a few months back. Not sure about the Cheshire one.

By Len

What about the Logik partnership with High Street Group on the Arundel Street scheme??? Some commentary on that would be useful!!!!

By Anonymous