Work stops at Wirral's new £4m medical centre as builder goes bust.
WORK on a major new health complex has ground to a halt as one of Wirral's leading building contractors falls victim to the recession.
The £3.9m Laird
Street Medical Centre was scheduled to be completed in October of this year.
But Felton Construction, based in New Ferry, will be unable to complete the job after formally announcing on Monday that it is insolvent.
The new building would combine under one roof the practices of the Cavendish and Miriam health centres as well as other Primary Care Trust and health care services.
But following inquiries by the Globe, NHS Wirral released this brief statement: "The new practice is being developed by LSP and Assura.
"The building contractor was Felton. We were informed on Monday that unfortunately Feltons are in the process of formal insolvency.
"Assura and LSP will now be seeking an alternative building contractor.”
Felton was one of the most successful contractors in the Northwest, responsible for some major buildings in Merseyside including Wavertree Technology Park, Wallasey Maritime Business Centre, the major redevelopment of Liverpool's St John's Precinct, the Arriva bus depot and numerous new buildings for schools throughout Wirral.
Its website states that the firm's turnover for 2008 was £31m. However, telephones were not being answered at its Grove Street headquarters this afternoon.
Felton's insolvency has shocked doctors and staff at the Cavendish and Miriam centres.
A joint statement issued today said : "We have been notified that unfortunately Felton Construction is in the process of formal insolvency.
"Clearly, this is disappointing for the project as it will inevitably cause a delay.
"However, the developers are putting in place a detailed strategy for appointing a new main contractor who will enter into a new contract with them and complete the works.
"Obviously this will slightly delay our moving in, and we would expect this to be a minimum of two months.
"The developers will seek to minimise this in considering the appointment of the new contractors."
The statement said there will be "no changes whatsoever to the design and specification of the building " which the developers are contractually committed to providing.
It goes on to thank patients for their continued support.
Birkenhead MP Frank Field said: “Given the shortage of jobs in Birkenhead it will be a real disappointment if a new construction firm cannot be found immediately.”
Jim Wilkie, deputy chief executive of Wirral Council, said: “We are extremely saddened to learn that Felton Construction has gone into administration.
"The council has a long History
of working with them on a number of successful projects in the past."
He said there are no current projects with the council which Felton Construction are involved in that would be affected.
* Earlier this week it was announced that a £750,000 scheme to carry out repairs at West Kirby's Marine Lake had also stalled after the contractor went into liquidation. Wirral Globe