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Balfour Beatty in payment fight over £100m Blackpool scheme

Construction giant Balfour Beatty and mixed-use developer Modus have locked horns in the High Court over payment problems on the £100 million Houndshill shopping mall makeover in Blackpool

According to a writ filed in London’s Technology and Construction Court, Balfour Beatty is seeking more than £1.15 million plus interest on the job over a series of design changes and an overdue interim payment.

The pair were involved in a design-and-build contract on the Houndshill retail scheme, which included a two-storey extension to the existing building, a roof-level car park and redevelopment work including two existing multi-storey car parks. There was also associated landscaping and infrastructure works.

The firms entered into an agreement for the work in March 2006, but Balfour Beatty claims Modus skipped an interim payment worth more than £975,000.

A dispute has also arisen over a payment for design changes on the redevelopment of the mall’s anchor Debenhams store.

The writ alleged alterations were made on the design and construction of the unit, including the glazing to the internal mall entrance.

Balfour Beatty called on the services of an adjudicator to help decide the matter late in August.

A decision was made on 2 October, which gave Modus seven days to pay £175,000 plus fees of more than £6,000 for the Debenhams alterations.

But the TCC was told the sum had not yet been paid. Balfour Beatty has now requested more than £180,000 under the claim, saying it has also had to pay the adjudicator’s fees itself.

In addition to the two claims, the contractor – which has refused to comment – is requesting compound interest from Modus.

The writ says: “The claimant further claims interest… from and including 10 October until 28 October at a rate of 5 per cent above the Bank of England base rate… and continuing at the daily rate of £47.32.”

The Houndshill scheme, which opened in August, is part of a 15-year masterplan to regenerate Blackpool town centre.

Under the project, floor space in the mall was increased from 10,000 sq m to 38,000 sq m. A judgement on the case is expected to be published early next week.