A plan to build 600 flats in York looks up in the air after its developer went into administration, with its creditors owed more than £37 million.

The scheme concerns the site of the former Heworth Gas Works, which has approval to build the homes.

However, the developer - Heworth Green Developments - went into administration last August, leaving the administrators, Moorfields of London, trying to find a buyer for the land.

Heworth Green Developments Ltd currently has just the one director John Howard Neil, with Neal Investments listed as the only shareholder, a company which is in administration.


North Star (York) Investments Ltd left the development company in March 2023 and Paul James Ellis resigned as a director last May, Companies House records also show.

Both groups have been connected to other schemes in York, which have failed and lost millions, such as the Roman Quarter and the redevelopment of the Fibbers nightclub, as reported in The Press in recent days.

An administrators' report, published in October, says Heworth Green Developments Ltd was incorporated in June 2017 to buy and develop land on the former gasworks site at Heworth Green, Layerthorpe.

The company acquired planning permission from City of York Council in July 2020 to build 607 flats and remedy the site. The development would be split into three zones with Zones A and C containing 215 flats, when built, and a ‘commercial element.’

York Press:  The former gasworks site at Heworth Green, Layerthorpe The former gasworks site at Heworth Green, Layerthorpe (Image: Pic supplied)


In August 2022 Silbury Speciality Finance refinanced the company’s existing debt to fund the extensive remediation works and construct Zones A and C.

However, the site remediation and construction works “endured significant time and cost overruns.”

The developer failed to meet its funding obligations, and Silbury served a demand on the company in August 2023, with Moorfields appointed as administrators.

The Statement of Proposals, dated from September, says Heworth Green Developments bought the site and neighbouring plots of land.

“The land purchases were funded by debt finance,” it said.

The report says the remediation and cost overruns were “due in large part to the original ground works contractor entering administration in February 2023.”

Silbury offered a new facility to fund the remediation, but terms could not be agreed, so Silbury lost confidence in Heworth’s ability to complete the remediation, leading it to act.

The statement said it worked with the incumbent site manager Ellmess to look at how much remediation would cost, and whether administration would be best served by selling the site once this work is done.

“The administrators are currently taking advice from agents and planning professionals in this regard to determine the best course of action.”

Some flats have been sold, the report continued, and the administrator ordered no more marketing of the units. Most buyers/ investors have paid 20 per cent deposits, half kept in an escrow account, the other half “protected by a Security Trust Deed.”

A more detailed Statement of Affairs is being prepared but by August 2023, Silbury was owed £28,178,385 and though it is a secured debt, the administrators “anticipate that Silbury will suffer a shortfall.”

Furthermore, there are “insufficient funds to pay a distribution to unsecured creditors.”

The report says the company owned freehold land and property with a book value of £30 million.

An estimated financial statement from August gives an ‘estimated deficiency’ of £37.3 million.

The report then lists 33 creditors, including Silbury, who are owed £28,178,385; Chris Neale (£1,050,000 ), Ice Cube Property Finance of York (£175,000), Neal Investments Ltd (£4,457,716), SVG Property Investments of York (£518,334); Vincent & Brown of Bishopthorpe (£240,383) and O’Neil Planning Associated of York (£33,640).

North Star, Silbury, and Moda Living - who were to build the flats - all declined to comment. The administrator Moorfields did not respond to The Press's inquiries.