Middlewich construction firm behind Smithfield hotel and apartments goes into administration

Work has halted on a hotel and apartments in Hanley, as the Middlewich based construction firm building them has gone into administration.

Grant Thornton UK LLP have been appointed administrators to the firm, which was founded in the 1930s, and employs 120 people.

A statement released on behalf of the company says the decision has made despite their best efforts, and comes amid difficult trading conditions.

The statement said: "In the past year the construction business, with a new management team on board, had established a platform for growth, developed excellent client relationships and secured a pipeline of profitable new work and opportunities. However, despite that renewed optimism for the future, the legacy issues from earlier contracts became too great a burden leading to difficult trading conditions. The Group’s board explored a number of options in an effort to preserve the Group’s trading status over recent months, including injections of significant levels of capital from shareholders and the sale of the Group’s property portfolio.

"Despite these efforts, the impact of the challenges have proven insurmountable and the difficult decision was reached by the directors to place a number of entities in the group into administration. This includes the main trading entities of Pochin’s Ltd, Pochin Construction Ltd and six other subsidiaries. "

Administrator Sarah O’Toole said: “Whilst it is very early days, this may result in a number of redundancies and the companies ceasing to trade, the joint administrators will continue to review options to ensure the best possible outcome for creditors.

Pochin was appointed by developers Genr8 last year as the main contractor for the latest stage of the Smithfield project in Hanley, building the Hilton Garden Inn and Clayworks Build-to-Rent apartments. 

Signal had a look behind the scenes at the new Hilton Garden Inn at Smithfield last month

Councillors and city dignitaries gathered at the site just a few weeks ago to mark the 140-bedroom hotel reaching its full height.

Work on it, and the 11 storey Clayworks apartments, was due to be completed by the end of the year.

The view of the Clayworks apartments from the top of the Hilton Garden Inn 

Genr8 have released a statement saying that they are responsible for ensuring the delivery of both the Hilton Garden Inn and Clayworks Build-to-Rent projects, and will continue to ensure that this happens.

Stoke Central MP Gareth Snell has tweeted: "The news that Cheshire based Pochin has fallen into administration is worrying news for not only the staff affected but for the future of the site itself.

"The Smithfield Development, which includes the Hilton Hotel and Clayworks apartment blocks, were sealed off by private security this morning and workers were denied to access to the site.

"I've spent this morning seeking urgent clarifications from the City Council on how this scheme will now be completed and what this means for the millions of pounds that the Council have invested in this scheme so far."

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown said: “This is clearly a developing situation. Our thoughts are with the families and workers employed by Pochin across the northwest who are affected by this news. We are in close dialogue with Genr8, they are the developer of both Smithfield schemes, and Pochin is their contractor.

“Genr8 have provided us with reassurances that they will continue to develop both schemes. We have recently carried out ‘topping out’ ceremonies, marking the culmination of the physical building out of the two sites. Clearly we expect the final works to be completed and for the two sites to be fully delivered, and we will continue to work with Genr8 to ensure that this happens.”

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