Jobs go at crisis-hit Leicestershire firm Hallam Contracts, of Oadby
A well-known building firm which has been carrying out major projects across Leicestershire has axed more than three-quarters of its workforce after experiencing financial problems.
Letters were yesterday handed to 100 staff at Hallam Contracts, of Oadby, telling them they had been made redundant and the company was set to go into administration in the next few days. No-one from the company, which has been left with about 20 workers and has ceased trading, was available for comment yesterday.
The 90-year-old family-run business had been left reeling after a sub-contractor submitted a winding up petition which would have seen the business broken up and sold off. It is believed the sub-contractor was owed about £500,000 by Hallam.
An office worker, who was made redundant yesterday, said the company had hit problems in recent weeks because of the difficult economic climate and had been working hard to resolve them. He said the winding up petition had been "the last straw".
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The 40-year-old, who has been at the firm for 10 years and did not want to be named, said: "There's only so much you can do in regard to cashflow. Some of the suppliers were willing to work with us and others weren't.
"It's a sad day, particularly for the Hallam family. However, the way the industry has been, we are not the first and won't be the last company where this happens."
It is believed about 300 businesses, including subcontractors and suppliers, are owed in the region of £4 million by Hallam, based in Leicester Road, Oadby.
Up until yesterday, Hallam had been working on about 50 projects, with 15 of them being major schemes.
It was only on Monday that the company began a major refurbishment scheme at the University of Leicester.
On the same day, it also began a student accommodation project at a former sock factory in the city's Welford Road.
Hallam was also working on student accommodation projects for Jamie Lewis Residential in the city.
For the past 10 months, the company had been working on the £12 million project to build new headquarters for Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council in Hinckley.
On Thursday, a new physics building at Loughborough Endowed Schools, built by Hallam, won Small Scheme of the Year at the Leicestershire Property and Construction (ProCon) Awards.
Martin Traynor, chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "We are very sorry to hear about Hallam. Unfortunately, it reflects the current situation in the construction industry and many good quality firms have gone to the wall."
Pam Allardice, chairman of Leicestershire ProCon, which organises the ProCon Awards, said: "It's a sad day because it's one of the last major local contracting firms of any size."