Lincoln business ‘at risk’ after collapse of student digs developer

A subcontractor on a 301-bed student accommodation project in Lincoln city centre has said the collapse of the building’s main developer has come at a £30,000 cost and put their business at risk.

Workers downed tools on the site of the student flats, gym, shops and restaurants at 179 High Street on September 27 when word spread that Preston-based developer Marcus Worthington was facing difficulties.

The half-finished site has been silent ever since.

Students were told the project, initially set for a September 2019 completion, would not be ready until 2020. They were moved to alternative accommodation and their contracts were terminated.

The joint venture by EBW Developments (Block Ltd and MWPL Ltd) had a letting agreed with the University of Lincoln for 21 years.

On September 30, Marcus Worthington Group was placed into administration, putting 130 jobs at risk. Company directors blamed “current economic uncertainty”.

It was expected to open in September 2019.

Among the subcontractors affected by the company collapse was Lincoln cleaning firm Grants Cleaning Services.

The four-year-old business has told The Lincolnite the news came as a £30,000 blow.

A spokesperson added that there has been no word from Marcus Worthington or administrators PwC.

The last they had heard from MW was on September 26, when they were warned of a ‘situation’ with the Lincoln project and told it was ‘working hard to resolve subcontractor payments’.

The business, which employs 18 staff, had undertaken siginificant cleaning work on the site. They said payment terms had been “poor”, on a 45 day basis, and they had to pay agency staff for additional cleaning work on site during their time on the project.

“We have altogether lost out at over £30,000 for the business.”

“I am sure that this has a massive impact on other local companies who have completed work in good faith.”

Administrators PwC told reporters the administration process was in early stages, and it could not comment on specific details. The company said in a statement: “Toby Underwood and Peter Dickens of PwC were appointed joint administrators of Marcus Worthington and Company Limited by the High Court on 30 September 2019.

“The company was established in 1975 and provided construction and development services to third parties and other group entities.

“c90 affected employees across the various operating contracts and head office have been spoken with and we are providing the appropriate support whilst the Administrators review the operations and financial position of the business.”

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