NEWS that North Wales housebuilder David McLean has gone into administration will have consequences for housing schemes in Chester.
Deeside-based David McLean has still to complete the fourth and final phase of a £20m project including 200 apartments on the opposite side of the railway viaduct to Chester Racecourse.
Work has not started on flats which will overlook the River Dee – potentially the most expensive accommodation on the site – although there is optimism they will get built given their prime location.
That’s because business advisory firm Deloitte, appointed as administrators, is seeking to sell the house building division as a going concern.
But worried workers at the Chester site were this week in the dark about the implications of administration.
On turning up for work on Monday they found a storeroom had been padlocked and assumed this was a result of the administrators seeking to safeguard the company’s assets.
Chester Race Company had worked in partnership with David McLean, who built the new stables by the river.
McLean’s also has an option to build apartments on the race company’s former stables at Linenhall but this expires next March.
Race Company chief executive Richard Thomas said: “They have an option to develop Linenhall but it runs out the following year, in March 2009, so your guess is as good as mine as to whether they will take it up. I won’t know until I speak to the administrator. It’s a very valuable plot of land which would revert back to us if the option is not taken up.
“They have completed three out of four phases by the railway. All the affordable housing, including the element that would have gone in at Linenhall, is down there. It’s all been built bar the fourth stage, the riverfront phase.”
Mr Thomas said there was no real impact on the race company.
“As far as we are concerned it’s business as usual. It’s not a total surprise but these things can throw up opportunities. Linenhall is a fantastic site. It’s probably the best housing site in the City Walls.
“Fortunately we are in a position where we don’t need to sell it. We can wait until the market is right. We would not want to off-load that site unless we could get the maximum value out of it.”
Mr Thomas said what had happened to David McLean was unfortunate. The company is also a sponsor and box holder at The Roodee.
“Nobody likes to see people going through hard times,” he added.