Downturn forces architect practice into administration

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One of Yorkshire’s best-known architectural practices has gone into administration blaming poor economic conditions in the regions.

The northern subsidiary of careyjones chapmantolcher, known as studio north, which has offices in Leeds and Manchester, is affected, while the southern subsidiary, the London office, continues to trade.

The practice, which was founded in 1987 and was behind the masterplan for the Granary Wharf redevelopment in Leeds, split its business into two separate firms in the north and south 18 months ago.

The 31 staff based in Leeds and Manchester have been made redundant and the group shareholders yesterday launched a new business, called leeds studio.

Mike Kienlen and Dave Robson of Armstrong Watson were joint administrators, advised by Alice Pratt of Leeds law firm Clarion.

Mr Kienlen said: “Unfortunately, the northern company has suffered particularly badly from the poor financial conditions in the property market which have delayed the start of many of its projects. Rather than waiting for cash flow problems to escalate, the management has taken decisive action in order to protect as many of its creditors as possible.”

Armstrong Watson declined to say how many creditors were owed money and how much they were owed.

Chris Jones, a former director of careyjones chapmantolcher studio north, said: “Regrettably, we felt we had to take the decision, with our advisers, to place the existing northern operational company into administration in response to the greatly reduced workload.”

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he added: “All architectural practices are facing tough times. Schemes are long planned and developers can’t find the funds or the end users to bring them forward.”

The new firm, launched by shareholders Mr Jones, Gordon Carey, Paul Chapman and Tim Tolcher, will work primarily on mixed-use schemes across the North.

Mr Jones said: “We are delighted to say that our clients who we have worked with personally for many years, have been incredibly supportive and we look forward to working with them for many years to come...We are in the process of assessing our future workload with our clients and building our team accordingly.”

He added: “We hope we have got a fresh, new approach and will get back to the values of the original business.

“We are the new guys on the block now but we are very positive about the way forward.”