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Bovis and Cadbury head for courts

Construction giant is embroiled in a row over a sweets factory in Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Construction giant Bovis Lend Lease is set to lock horns with confectionery giant Cadbury in a £12 million-plus scrap over a new sweets factory in West Yorkshire, Construction News understands.

Bovis has filed a writ at London’s High Court demanding more than £10.5 million from Cadbury’s, which it alleges it is owed “as due for payment under a contract entered into between the parties”. It is also seeking to claw in some £1.5 million in VAT as well as further interest and legal costs.

The dispute is believed to centre around a £49 million deal to rebuild a Cadbury Schweppes factory in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

A contract was signed between the pair for the project back in September 2006.

The 5,000 sq m building, for Cadbury’s subsidiary Monkhill Confectionery – which produces Bassett Liquorice Allsorts, Trebor Basset mints and Butterkist popcorn – was built at the site after a fire destroyed the original factory in June 2005.

Bovis claims: “The defendants have failed to pay. [We] claim damages for breach of contract.”

It had, however – as Construction News went to print – failed to lodge any details of the claim with the court. Cadbury’s has hence been left unable to file a defence as it awaits information regarding the particulars of the case.

Both Cadbury and Bovis were unavailable for comment on the row. The claim will be heard by the Technology and Construction Court next month.

Meanwhile, Bovis Homes and Kendrick Construction are set to fight out a dispute over a £3 million housing scheme, finished more than a decade ago, behind closed doors.

The pair is battling over damages to fix alleged defects on the long-completed project – a complex including 48 apartments and three retail units in Harborne, Birmingham.

While the amount being fought over in the upcoming arbitration is undisclosed, High Court judge Mr Justice Coulson said even the legal costs were “not insubstantial” because of a “lengthy” pre-action protocol process.

Bovis engaged Kendrick to design and build the residential complex back in November 1996 for about £2.9 million. The works were completed in October 1997 but almost nine years later, in June 2006, Bovis put Kendrick on notice of alleged defects in the works.

Neither party would comment on the dispute.

A regular client

According to Bovis Lend Lease’s website, Cadbury’s is a repeat client of the Middlesex-based contractor.

It has recently completed a series of projects for the global confectionery company, including a new 42,000 sq m chewing gum factory in Wroclaw, Poland. The scheme was Cadbury’s second factory in Wroclaw and the largest investment in the food sector in Poland over the past ten years, Bovis says.

In late 2005 it also completed the design, engineering, procurement and construction management of a £10 million, 7,500 sq m gum base manufacturing facility in Ireland.

Bovis was appointed to design and construct a new factory to replace an outdated existing one. The building is located in Tallaght on the outskirts of Dublin.

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