BUILDERS at St George's Square laid down their tools yesterday as the firm behind the £4m revamp went into administration.
Employees from Wrekin Construction stopped work on the new redevelopment as their company went into administration with 530 job cuts nationally.
Company managing director, Peter Greenwood, said: “It’s cash that we have run out of effectively and there has been a total lack of support from our bank RBS.”
The Shropshire-based company director believes they were forced into administration because of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s “inflexibility” to release funds even though the company had an order book of tens of millions of pounds.
Yesterday, they announced they were awarded a contract by Defence Estates for construction work at Yorkshire’s RAF Menwith Hill, which was due to start later this month.
Alan Ritchie, general secretary of the building workers’ union Ucatt, said: “This is another example of a healthy company going to the wall because banks will not lend money.
“There is a particular problem with the banks bailed out by Government cash not passing it on to construction companies. This must be the last example of this problem.”
Kirklees Council told the Examiner they were ready to take over renovation work in the square to make sure it doesn’t grind to a halt.
Suppliers and sub-contractors will deal directly with the Highways department to finish the outstanding work on paving, electricals, fountains and landscaping.
Councillor Christine Stanfield, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “With a project as important as St George’s Square, the council must ensure that work is completed as soon as possible. We will take all the action required to complete the work.
“Although what has happened is unfortunate we have a competent and experienced in-house team who will now take over and complete the work.
“This is a tragedy for Wrekin but we will make sure it is not a tragedy for the town.”
The news comes as the Examiner reported yesterday a family paving business was owed £16,000 from Wrekin Construction.
Owner Ashley Browitt won a claim at an independent hearing to have the money paid back after waiting months for the cash.
The refurbishment work is now weeks behind and neighbouring businesses are worried the delay will worsen.
Alex McNeil, partner at Bramleys estate agents said: “It’s come as no surprise really after all the delays we’ve had already.
“The concern is now that it will continue to affect all the nearby businesses and access to the train station.
“The town centre still looks like a building site and something needs to be done.”