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Property developer facing criticism for late payment for work at five multimillion-pound London homes Subbies chase 'lost £1m'

ANGRY subcontractors claim they are owed nearly £1 million by a property developer for work on luxury flats in Belgravia, west London.

Subbies have been left out of pocket following conversion work for developer Chelsfield at 37 Chesham Place where flats cost up to £5 million.

Reading-based joiner Bricanmore claims it is owed £280,000 for work carried out on the site during 1996.

Bricanmore quantity surveyor Ian Casagranda said design changes and poor organisation meant the length of the job quadrupled from 12 to 48 weeks.

Bricanmore has laid off 20 workers because of the late payment and the firm is now unable to go for jobs worth more than £50,000 because of cashflow problems.

Mr Casagranda said the missing £280,000 would have translated into £2.5 million-worth of contracts.

He said: 'We have been treated shabbily and now have to beg for time from the VAT man. This is why late payment is so serious, and non-payment is catastrophic.'

Sources close to the project claimed Chelsfield owed nearly £1 million to subbies.

Another firm owed cash said there had 'not been a job like that'.

And Herts-based Ware Joinery, a supplier to Bricanmore and owed £16,000 from unpaid materials, said the site was like a 'zoo'.

Problems highlighted included:

wardrobes installed before plastering was done;

sealed kitchens resealed after holes were drilled in the walls; and

expensive mahogany doors left sitting around while 'wet' plastering work was finished.

Four out of the five listed flats have now been sold after being developed by Belgravia Property Company, a subsidiary of Chelsfield. The fifth, with a £4.75 million asking price, is scheduled to be ready in the spring.

A spokesman for management contractor Taylor Woodrow said the claims were 'uncertified'. But he said Taywood was discussing the matter with Chelsfield this week. A decision is expected by the end of the month. He said: 'We are working to identify where responsibilities lie for the differences in the monies claimed and those actually agreed.'

No one from Chelsfield would comment on the claims, but the developer has agreed to meet Bricanmore to discuss the claim.