Whispers Developments in administration

Begbies Traynor has been appointed administrator of the property developer behind plans to transform Royton Assembly Hall in Oldham into an Indian restaurant and wedding banquet venue.

Whispers Developments bought the hall in 2003 but has left the building unfinished, putting the future of the development into yet more uncertainty.

Whispers Developments was fined for failing to secure the building site and failing to meet agreed deadlines for completion of the work.

The directors of the company have failed regularly to attend council meetings to discuss the lack of progress and also come under attack by frustrated local residents and businesses.

Paul Stanley and Gary Lee, from Begbies Traynor's Manchester office, were appointed joint administrators of the company.

Stanley said: "The refurbishment of Royton Hall has turned into a long-running saga for the council, and local residents are understandably frustrated with the lack of progress.

"This is a challenging market for property developers and we are currently trying to get to the bottom of the company's finances. Action should have been taken sooner when it became clear that Whispers Developments was struggling to meet agreed deadlines and service its debts. Our appointment was made by the bank as a defensive response to a winding-up petition served on the company."

Last month, Cllr Jim McMahon, leader of Oldham Council, labelled the hall "a blight on the community" and its directors either "indifferent" or "not competent enough to sort it".

Stanley added: "A significant amount of work remains to be completed for this building to prove itself fit for any purpose, whether commercial or for the community."

Stanley said he will work with Lee to get a clear picture the situation before beginning to look for a suitable buyer of the property. Stanley hopes to meet with the council shortly to discuss the site.

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