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New Milton gateway could be transformed under ideas for collapsed builder's site

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The former Herbert H Drew and Son Ltd site in Station Road, New Milton
The former Herbert H Drew and Son Ltd site in Station Road, New Milton

ONE of the main gateways into New Milton could be transformed under plans to redevelop an area around the site of a major construction firm which went bust earlier this year.

The offices of Herbert H Drew and Son Ltd, in Station Road, are being sold off after the company went into administration in May with the loss of nearly 70 jobs, as reported in the A&T.

The site at 11-15 Station Road could be jointly developed with a row of neighbouring properties at Numbers 3-9, according to an update lodged with Companies House by the administrator, Nigel Price.

It said that out of 19 interested parties, the best offer in the summer had been £625,000 for the former company's premises, although that had fallen through.

It added that “discussions have also taken place with representatives of the owners of the adjoining properties at 3-9 Station Road, New Milton, to explore the possibility that these properties might also be available for sale at the same time, which might increase the potential for redevelopment”.

The site of Herbert H Drew and Son Ltd has been put back on the market and offers were being reviewed to make a sale “as soon as possible”.

Unsecured creditors are owed more than £6m but Mr Price said they could expect to receive a “relatively small return”.

The report said Mr Price had also carried out a routine initial investigation into the “conduct of company directors” which had been submitted confidentially to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

He appealed for creditors to register any concerns but stressed: “This is a standard request and does not imply any misconduct on the part of the directors.”

As reported in the A&T, a previous administrator’s update revealed draft accounts for the year to September 2017 showed net profit before tax had more than halved to £134,000 – despite turnover doubling to £33.7m.

That month company chair William Rabbetts resigned, followed soon after by financial director Andrew Jackman.

Herbert H Drew and Son Ltd was one of the New Forest's biggest building contractors until it collapsed unexpectedly owing millions and having to abandon work.

It had recently completed high-profile projects including a £2.7m science and technology building at Brockenhurst College and Marwell Zoo’s £8m new tropical house.

Among the creditors is Oakhaven Hospice Trust which in January made a £1m claim against HHD related to work in 2007 to expand the in-patient unit.

The company is believed to have been founded in 1908 but was officially incorporated in 1950.

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