Scalloway firm pursues beleagured JHB for debts in civil court

A civil case is being brought against beleaguered building firm JHB to chase up approximately £35,000 owed to another firm. Scalloway-based WHD Plant brought its complaint to a hearing at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

The case has been deferred until 20th April to allow a debate to be held between the parties on some of the legal issues.

Meanwhile discussions are continuing between JHB’s managing director John Halcrow and the Inland Revenue after it transpired JHB owed over £200,000 in unpaid tax and national insurance.

Mr Halcrow refused to give any more details, although he sought to scotch rumours the company went out of business on Friday.

“Things are at an important stage. We are in discussions with the Inland Revenue. The business is still operational,” he said.

The company has effectively been living on borrowed time since it became caught in a planning row over the proposed Utnabrake housing scheme in Scalloway.

It was meant to be building the houses on behalf of Hjaltland Housing Association, however its future was cast in doubt when the houses were put on hold by last month’s planning committee over fears the new houses would be built on good arable land.

Councillors agreed to delay a decision for two cycles in the hope the outcome of an appeal on another development at Veensgarth in Tingwall, which was rejected last year because it too was on good ground.

The delay has forced Mr Halcrow to implement a major restructuring programme for the company which saw 21 members of staff paid off.

He has also brought a complaint of maladministration against the SIC over the way it handled the Utnabrake application, which was lodged as far back as July.

Last week’s Full Council heard there was “a will” to move ahead and find a solution to JHB’s problems, although a happy ending does depend on a speedy response from government ministers over the Veensgarth appeal.


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