Southwestern construction firm Henry W Pollard and Sons Ltd, 161, went out of business without warning and left buildings unfinished across the county – not yet knowing when they could be completed.
The company, which has been involved in multi-million pound construction projects across the west of the country, is now preparing to go into liquidation. No reason for the unexpected collapse was given.
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Pollard, headquartered in Bridgwater but with a key regional office in Plymouth as well, was a beneficiary before the coronavirus pandemic and has healthy revenue, but the administration of a major client in 2019 left him with 715,000 £ out of his pocket.
He built the £ 13million, eight-story Teesra House apartment block in Mount Wise, Plymouth, close to where he also built the luxury Leeward House apartment complex. Work has stopped on the new building, which is still covered in scaffolding, and a sign on a fence reads “this site is now closed”.
Pollard, who opened his Plymouth office in the Millbay Cargo building in 2015, recently completed the Kingsditch industrial units in Cheltenham, and was also working on the Weston Mews townhouses in Bath and the Alexander House care home in Exeter.
It employed around 50 people and its most recent results showed a turnover of £ 24million, up 20%, in 2020 and a profit of £ 170,888. This was before the Covid pandemic, although accounts released in January 2021 show the company was able to keep work on all of its sites and put out a tender for £ 40million worth of work. But the family business has reportedly contacted suppliers to tell them that the sites are now closed.
A spokesperson for the company told BusinessLive that Pollard is not yet in liquidation but is expected. He said: “The company has ceased operations and all work has ceased at this point. “
PKF Accountants and Business Consultants Francis Clark were recruited as an advisor and Lucinda Coleman, Partner and Head of Business Turnaround at PKF Francis Clark, said: “Henry W Pollard & Sons Limited has unfortunately gone out of business and the directors take steps to place the company in voluntary liquidation of creditors.
“We assist the administrators in this process but do not seek to be appointed liquidators. Creditors are being contacted and liquidators will be appointed in due course.
A voluntary liquidation of creditors is an insolvency process that allows directors to formally close an insolvent business voluntarily. It is often chosen by administrators as a means of gaining control in the face of continued pressure from creditors and an impending liquidation petition.
Meanwhile, at the former Royal Navy site in Mount Wise, Plymouth, where Pollard was building the 73-apartment Teesra House, developers had to decide what to do now. The building is in the final stages of development and a new company will need to be found to complete the work.
Mount Wise (Devon) Ltd has developed the former naval base, which is also home to the Plymouth Cricket Club, and has so far invested over £ 35million in staged development.
A spokesperson for Mount Wise said: “We have been informed that Henry W Pollard & Sons Ltd, the construction contractor for the current Teesra House project in Mount Wise, has ceased operations.
“It was completely unexpected and our hearts go out to the staff at the company, the construction team employed at Mount Wise in particular, and all of those affected by what happened.
“The building itself is in the final stages of construction and much of it is only final fitting work left. We are currently assessing the situation and will endeavor to put new arrangements in place to minimize any delays and aim to resume work as soon as possible. “
Pollard was also responsible for many other important buildings in the South West, including the development of 130 bed student accommodation at St Anne’s in Exeter; a food retail park in Alphington Road, Exeter; a new children’s and community center in Sidmouth; the redevelopment of Mount Stuart Hospital in Torquay; the renovation of the Grade II listed Exeter Community Center; and the redevelopment of Woodford and Holy Cross Primary Schools in Plymouth.
The most recent accounts, in early 2021, showed the company expected revenue of £ 19million for the year through April 2021, and added: “The company currently has a significant number calls for tenders in progress. The administrators have no reason to believe that the subcontractors and their suppliers will not be able to fulfill their obligations.
But is also underlined the difficult nature of the construction sector and the “potential risk of not recovering part of the debt owed” by the client in administration.
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