Preston Guild Hall latest: New administration report reveals latest on legal row and what staff will be paid

Workers who lost their jobs when Preston Guild Hall went into administration might only be able to claim one pence in the pound of what is owed to them.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 13th January 2022, 12:41 pm

A Notice of Administrators Progress Report for Preston Guild Hall Ltd was submitted to Companies House by administrator Beverley Budsworth on January 9.

It shows that when the Simon Rigby-owned company ceased trading in June 2019, it had approximately 100 employees.

>>>Click here to read why Preston Guild Hall ended up in administration.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Preston Guild Hall

Ms Budsworth wrote: "It was estimated that claims for arrears of pay and holiday pay in the region of £38,372 but I am yet to receive a final claim from the RPS.

"It is anticipated that a dividend of at least 1 (one) pence in the £ (Pound) will be paid to preferential creditors in due course, once all other matters have been finalised."

The report also notes that employees are also listed as unsecured creditors as there is a claim for employee's redundancy and payment in lieu of notice of around £66,159.

But Ms Budsworth states: "Regrettably, I anticipate that no dividend will be paid to non-preferential unsecured creditors as there will be insufficient funds available to do so."

The late Simon Rigby, pictured at Preston Guild Hall.

>>>Click here to read how one Guild Hall employee was left searching for £2,400 nursery fees the company didn't pass on from his wages.

The report also details that there were £112,175 in unsecured consumer claims in relation to ticket sales purchased for future events at the Guild Hall and/or Charter Theatre.

Where events have been confirmed as cancelled, people may be able to claim a refund through there debit or credit card, but anyone who paid cash would have to make an unsecured claim in the administration.

There are scores of other claimants, including private bank C Hoare and Co, owed £1,7m, Frank Whittle Partnership which is owed £169,334, Lancashire County Council - owed £137,987 and EDF Energy, owed £34,355.

What happened?

The theatre closed and went into administration in May 2019, when it shut its doors following a string of allegations of unpaid debts.

>>>What's happened to the Guild Hall now? Click here.

Just weeks later, in June 2019, Mr Rigby announced both the Charter Theatre and Guild Hall were both back in business. But this was quickly quashed by administrator Ms Budsworth, who said the 999-year lease had been forfeited due to what the city council said were “significant breaches” of the lease agreement.

A legal case determining whether Preston City Council acted unlawfully in seizing Preston Guild Hall from Simon Rigby was then launched, but the latest report states that Simon Rigby's estate has abandoned legal action against Preston City Council.

>>>Click here to read an obituary to Simon Rigby who died aged 58.

It says: "Following his death Simon Rigby ceased to be party to the proceedings and the trustees of his estate have not sought to pursue them in his place."

However, there are other claimants who are still persuing legal action, including 11 subsidiaries of Preston Guild Hall.