Two high-profile companies founded by TV presenter Kevin McCloud have collapsed after failing to persuade backers to keep them going.
KPMG has been appointed to oversee the liquidation of HAB Land and its subsidiary HAB Land Finance, which form a key part of McCloud’s business called Happiness Architecture Beauty (HAB).
The 60-year old Grand Designs presenter set it up 12 years ago to challenge the way the UK’s volume house builders construct ‘identikit’ homes.
The HAB firms appear to have failed in part because of the way they were financed. Much of the cash needed to construct homes at HAB’s five sites across Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Winchester, Bristol and Hampshire was sourced from individual investors.
£2.4 million was raised in 2017 this way and investors were offered returns of 8% over five years, but the difficulty and costs of building eco-homes, and a weakening property market, mean investors are now likely to receive, at best, 26p for every £1 they put into the firm.
Representatives of the two HAB companies had attempted to buy the venture more time but, despite the expected heavy losses, mini bondholders voted on Tuesday to put the firms into liquidation.
A third company, HAB Housing, which McCloud remains a director of, is not involved in the liquidation proceedings.
HAB Housing, which includes the property marketing arm of the venture, has sold all properties within its four development sites bar one house in Winchester. The firm’s Bristol site is yet to release its homes for sale.