Finance

Developers High Street Group see second auditors resign


A controversial development company has lost its second auditor in the space of just over a year.

High Street Group, which is best known for creating Newcastle’s tallest building, Hadrian’s Tower, has suffered a turbulent period which has resulted in many of its major developments being taken over by other firms.

The company also saw a subsidiary being wound up by an investor and accounts being substantially delayed, while last year auditors PwC resigned, saying they had not been able to obtain the information needed to complete a reliable audit on the company.

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Now accountancy firm Haines Watts, which replaced PwC, has also resigned, saying that High Street Group has not paid its fees.

A letter from the company to High Street Group published on the Companies House website said: “Further to our recent correspondence and in accordance with section 516 of the Companies Act 2006 we resign as auditors of the above named company.

“Further, in accordance with section 519 Companies Act 2006, we consider that the following matter connected with our ceasing to hold office should be brought to the attention of the members and creditors of the company, namely that the reason for our ceasing to hold office is due to increased credit risk following non-payment of previously agreed fees.”

High Street Group has been one of the North East’s most prominent developers of recent years, leading the Hadrian’s Tower development and also announcing a major scheme close to Newcastle’s St James’ Park and the redevelopment of the former Brett Oils site on the banks of the River Tyne.

It also had a number of major developments in the Manchester and Birmingham areas, specialising in the private rental sector.

But the company hit major difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that a number of its institutional funders had withdrawn financing for development schemes. A number of its sites have now been taken on by other developers, including some that are now in the hands of Hadrian Real Estate, which started as part of the High Street Group before being taken over by new owners.

High Street Group has faced complaints from a number of investors, contractors and customers, and its 2018 accounts were published more than a year late. The company’s accounts for 2019 are now more than 10 months overdue, but likely to be delayed further by the need for new auditors.

The company has been contacted for comment.

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