The new H&M store taking shape at Lynn’s Vancouver Centre.

Pledges have been made that a major town centre project will stay on track despite a construction firm’s announcement it was set to go into liquidation.

Action has been taken to secure the completion of the redevelopment of the former Beales site in King’s Lynn’s Vancouver Centre where a new H&M store is to open this spring.

The directors of Lynn-based Chalcroft Ltd announced their “deep regret” the company was being placed in liquidation, blaming a series of events within the business and the wider sector which had impacted on the company.

The directors stated: “Working in liaison with our clients and sub-contractors, we can confirm that all outstanding contracts will be completed.” 

It is understood around 15 to 20 jobs could be in jeopardy.

Following the announcement, reassurances have been given by both West Norfolk Council and the Vancouver Centre about the future of the multi-million pound development.

A Vancouver spokesman wanted to reassure shoppers that “measures have already been put in place to continue with building the important project”.

“We look forward to providing further improvements to the town’s retail offer and welcoming H&M later in the spring,” the spokesman said.

Alistair Beales, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for corporate projects and assets, said the announcement was “extremely unwelcome news not only given the company’s involvement with the H&M project in town, but also because of the knock-on effect of job losses in the area”. 

He said: “Chalcroft has long had a presence locally and it is regretful that the company is set to go into liquidation.

“I can confirm that the council has no direct contractual relationship with Chalcroft, but we will continue to work with our investment partners to keep the H&M project on track. This development is key for the future of the town centre.

“I understand that a number of actions have already been taken to ensure continuity on the H&M site, including varying the contract to enable direct payment of sub-contractors.

“Meetings have and will continue to take place over the following days and weeks and officers at the council will do everything possible to support our investment partners to get this project completed.”

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said he had been “saddened” to hear the news. He said the company had contributed a “huge amount” to the local economy.

Sir Henry said he had spoken to chairman Mark Reeve, and had been told the company’s smaller projects division was to continue.

“Mark Reeve also made it very clear to me that they were going to do all they possibly could to avoid any collateral damage to partners and creditors. 

  “He also explained that there should not be any concerns over the £4.5m H&M project where Chalcroft has transferred all of its involvement to sub-contractors,” said Sir Henry.

 

Norwich-based McTear Williams and Wood has been appointed as liquidators.

Sir Henry said this news had made it “doubly important” the right solution was found for the future of the Constuction Industry Training Board (CITB) site at Bircham Newton