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Legal action over 135m pavilion

19 February 09 19:26 GMT

A council has begun legal action against a developer which it said failed to start a £135m redevelopment of Weymouth Pavilion in Dorset.

The scheme was due to include a hotel, flats, marina berths, a new ferry terminal and a refurbished theatre.

Weymouth and Portland council has begun steps to end its contract with Howard Holdings, and to recover £23,000, by requesting a court to wind up the firm.

The developer was unavailable for comment.

Councillor Howard Legg said work at the site would still get under way before the town hosted the 2012 Olympics sailing events, but it might not be completed in time.

The development had been expected to create about 400 jobs.

Mr Legg, portfolio holder for special projects, said: "Something will happen between now and the Olympics. It will be a site that we're proud of by the Olympics.

"But there might not be a finished, completed project by that time."

Mr Legg added the council had tried to contact Howard Holdings to find out what their intentions were, but so far the developer had not replied.

'Projects reviewed'

The council said it sent Howard Holdings a formal demand in November 2008 for consultants' fees amounting to £23,000.

Because the sums remained unpaid, the council said it was "entitled to issue an application to wind up the company".

"The application has been made and is due to be dealt with by the insolvency court on 19 March."

In November 2008, Jeff Sparrow from Howard Holdings, said "projects in Weymouth are being reviewed" and the firm was "in constant contact" with the council.

If the court decides the company should be wound up, Howard Holdings' funder, Europa, will have three months to decide if it should step in as the development partner.

Future options for the pavilion redevelopment will then be discussed at a council committee meeting in July.

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