Lancaster Castle restoration "on hold" as contractor goes in to administration

Work has stopped on the restoration of Lancaster Castle after the company working on it was placed into administration. York based William Anelay Ltd, one of Britain’s oldest heritage restoration and construction companies, had been working on a programme of work to repair 70 per cent of the castle’s roofs and deal with weather damage to the fabric of the 1,000-year-old Grade II Listed building.

This program had a value in excess of £3m and the remaining works could now be at risk as it was announced this week that the family business, which had a turnover of £38m and had been trading since 1747, had gone into administration. Graeme Chalk, head of project management for the Duchy of Lancaster, which owns Lancaster Castle, said:

“The Duchy of Lancaster can confirm that the current phase of restoration works undertaken by William Anelay at Lancaster Castle has been placed on hold, following this morning’s announcement that the company is to be placed in administration. The Duchy remains totally committed to the ongoing restoration of these historic buildings.”

The company had won numerous awards and had 17 schemes on site, including those at York Mansion House, Bradford City Hall and Lancaster Castle. Julian Pitts the joint administrator from Begbies Traynor, said:

“It is very sad to see the demise of such a historic Yorkshire family business. Unfortunately, William Anelay ran into cash flow difficulties following a period of expansion and problems with some complex projects. Despite attempts to secure a CVA, this did not prove viable and there was no alternative but to place the business into administration."

"We will be working closely with the management to realise returns for creditors and will keep the employees fully informed as the situation becomes clearer. We are now in discussions with various interested parties and are hopeful that it may prove possible to novate some of the company’s contracts to ensure that work can be completed with the minimum of disruption to clients.”

Chairman and special projects director, Charles Anelay, the eighth generation of the founding family, said:

“We have worked very hard to save the business and do the best for our creditors by proposing a CVA. We really believed that we had a good plan to get through our cash difficulties, and were supported by our bank and HMRC. The last few weeks have been the worst of my life. We are hugely disappointed that it has come to this."

"We thank all our staff for their commitment and loyalty, apologise to those clients and creditors who have given their support and who will now lose out, and thank all past friends of the firm and members of the public who kindly gave their support. All I can hope is that at some point in the future people will look back at William Anelay Ltd and recognise 260 years of skilled craftsmanship which gave us the privilege to restore parts of our country’s architectural heritage with some amazing projects on some very special buildings which will be admired far into the future.”

No doubt creditors and suppliers of William Anelay Ltd are hoping a buyer can be found for the business in short order.

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