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How much Preston Guild Hall Ltd owed is laid bare in new report

Posted on - 17th August, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Preston Guild Hall in Lancaster Road Pic: Tony Worrall
Preston Guild Hall in Lancaster Road Pic: Tony Worrall

The debts amassed by Preston Guild Hall Limited have been laid bare.

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Beverley Budsworth’s report has been tabled showing the company owed more than £4.5million to hundreds of individuals and companies.

The Guild Hall, previously operated by Simon Rigby since 2014, remains mothballed as a venue to the public.

Preston City Council took back the lease for the building from Mr Rigby under forfeiture in June this year.

The administrator Mrs Budsworth says Mr Rigby had planned to ‘breakeven’ within two years since taking on the Guild Hall and then turn a profit.

Management information provided to the administrator showed in 2018 the company operating the Guild Hall had £6.29m of income but made a loss of £818,000.

Mr Rigby was facing significant pressure over unpaid amounts by the Guild Hall, with the Dreamboys stripper act filing a winding-up petition over an unpaid debt of £6,676.17 on 9 April 2019. A number of other firms also indicated they were at this stage going to file petitions, including other production companies and alcohol suppliers.

Read more: Insolvency hearing against Simon Rigby has been delayed

The administrator has revealed they hold only £26,228 of cash in the bank following the winding up of Preston Guild Hall Ltd.

Simon Rigby with his MBE
Simon Rigby with his MBE

Around £66,159 is owed in redundancy payments and lieu of notice claims from employees.

Read more: Guild Hall firm being investigated for missed pension payments

As previously reported by Blog Preston, around £112,175 is due for refund advance tickets bought for performances at the Guild Hall and Charter Theatre.

Read more: We’ve listed every company, charity and other groups owed money by the Guild Hall Ltd

What Mr Rigby has to say

Simon Rigby said he had ploughed millions into refurbishing the venue and told Blog Preston ‘no on has lost more on the Guild Hall than me’.

He told Blog Preston: “The Guild Hall was and hopefully soon will be again a massive operation and these numbers are commensurate with that. The Operator and I who I had lined up had agreed to work with us to settle all promoters and re employ the staff but Preston City Council intervened knowing our plans. I hope that whoever they select will do likewise.

“If I had been allowed to reopen by Preston City Council I am on record as saying we planned to honour all Advanced Sales by either delivering the show or refunding the ticket money. Again I would hope that whoever the Council get in to Operate PGH will do something for the ticket holders as it would be good business.”

Mr Rigby says he is still working to undertake legal action following the loss of the Guild Hall lease.

What the city council say

Leader of Preston City Council councillor Matthew Brown said: “The decision to reclaim the Guild Hall was in the best interests of the city and the council.

“Unfortunately, Preston City Council is among the number of creditors owed a significant amount of money.

“As this is taxpayers’ money, we are actively considering reasonable means to recover this money owed [and] hope a resolution will soon be found.”

Future of the venue

The future of the Guild Hall remains uncertain, although Preston City Council say they have received a number of formal submissions from operators to run the venue.

Read more: How much Simon Rigby is said to owe Preston City Council in unpaid business rates

All units in the Arcade and facing into Lancaster Road have continued to trade after negotiating new leases with the city council.

You can see the full administrators report on Companies House.

Read more: The slow implosion of Preston Guild Hall following its rebirth

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