Another of Liverpool’s major roadworks schemes has been plunged into chaos after the contractor carrying it out collapsed into administration.
It has been confirmed that NMCN plc has entered administration after failing to sign off its 2020 accounts and secure a re-financing of the business.
NMCN is the principal contractor behind the multi-million pound, controversial redevelopment of the Lime Street and St George’s area – perhaps the most iconic gateway into the city of Liverpool.
The scheme is part of the wider – and often contentious – City Centre Connectivity Scheme, which is already running significantly over budget and has led to a number of political rows.
Today’s news will be a huge blow to the city council and the ECHO understands it could add months on to the Lime Street work programme.
The council tweeted last week to say that the work, which involves reducing Lime Street to a single lane of traffic in each direction and creating more public space – had entered in its final phase.
The hope was that the long-running scheme, which has caused plenty of disruption in the city centre, would be completed by mid December.
While its not known exactly what the news of NMCN’s collapse will mean for the project, it seems likely to at least push that date back into 2022.
A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council said: “We have been made aware that NMCN may have unfortunately entered into administration.
“Officers have been tasked with securing Lime Street and making it safe, whilst we await formal confirmation. The council will be seeking clarification on the matter to inform our next steps.”
NMCN confirmed today that it would be appointing Grant Thornton as administrator.
In a statement, it said: “NMCN today announces that the board of the company, having taken advice, has concluded that the company is no longer able to continue trading as a going concern.”
“The board of NMCN wishes to thank all of its shareholders, customers and suppliers for their support over the years and particularly Svella and those who had intended to participate in the equity subscription that formed part of the Proposed Transaction, which has had to be cancelled.”
Rob Parker, Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “I can confirm we are working with the Directors of the Group and parties who have expressed an interest in the business in an attempt to maximise the position for its employees and creditors. We will provide a further update on these discussions when we are able to.”
Prior to today’s news, a number of concerns had been raised about the work taking place in the Lime Street and St George’s Hall area.
Images sent to the ECHO recently appeared to show damage to the St George’s Plateau, with claims the famous lion plinths had suffered damage during the upgrade work.
The project has caused political problems too.
Back in April, then cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, resigned her post in objection to the Lime Street scheme.
She and numerous other elected members were angry that the multi-million work, aimed at reducing traffic in the city centre and encouraging people out of their cars, will actually stop buses from travelling between Elliot Street, past St George’s Place and beyond to other parts of the city.
The highly controversial City Centre Connectivity Scheme – which includes the Lime Street and Strand upgrades – is already set to go £13m over budget.
A recent council report revealed that spending on the city-wide scheme is set to rise from £55.8m to £68.8m.
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