A DEVELOPER from York who was once Yorkshire’s 20th richest man has suffered a setback in his fight to recover from the collapse of his property empire.

Kevin Linfoot was the main owner and chairman of Leeds-based residential property developers, KW Linfoot Plc, until February 2009 when the company went into voluntary liquidation.

In March 2010 his assets were valued at £184,501 as against an “estimated deficiency” of more than £7.5 million. Under the terms of an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA), Mr Linfoot agreed to pay £2,700 a month for five years, a total of £162,000.

Among his assets were stately home Ravenswick Hall, set in 198 acres near Kirkbymoorside, and Bishopsthorpe Garth, York, valued at £4 million and £2.6 million respectively in March 2010, but both of which are heavily mortgaged.

Ravenswick Hall has been “extensively and systematically vandalised’ and the cost of repairs has been put at £1 million.

Mr Linfoot went to court after a creditors’ meeting refused to sanction an amendment to his IVA in April this year. He had wanted the voluntary payments he is making and sums due from the sale of some number plates to be paid by a third party.

Bank of Scotland and National Westminster Bank Plc voted against the amendment and it was blocked after Mr Linfoot failed to achieve the required 75 per cent majority of creditors in favour.

At Leeds County Court, Mr Linfoot argued that the supervisor of his IVA had been wrong to allow the two banks, both of them secured creditors, to cast votes on the basis that they were jointly owed more than £2.5 million. Had the banks been denied a vote, Mr Linfoot would have got the majority he needed.

His lawyers argued the meeting should have been adjourned in order to investigate a purchase offer of £4,678,000 for Ravenswick Hall, and an offer of £2.6m for Bishopsthorpe Garth, both received in April this year.

However, Judge John Behrens has now upheld decisions made by the IVA supervisor and dismissed Mr Linfoot’s application. That means he remains personally liable to make the monthly payments and account for the sums received for the number plates.

The judge said there had been disagreements between Mr Linfoot and the supervisor and the IVA had “not run completely smoothly”. Although Mr Linfoot had duly paid his monthly contributions, the supervisor served a notice of default on him in January.

An impasse developed after the supervisor alleged that £47,000 was due in respect of the sale of the number plates “at an undervalue”, that there had been a failure to disclose all Mr Linfoot’s assets or his current income and expenditure and that the businessman was “not co-operating with the sale of Ravenswick Hall”.