Guild Hall company applies for administration

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The company that runs Preston Guild Hall has today applied to the High Court in Manchester to be placed in administration.

The move by Preston Guild Hall Limited (PGHL) was revealed in a statement from owner Simon Rigby.

He said: “PGHL has had to be placed in administration and Licensed Insolvency Practitioner Bev Budsworth of The Business Debt Advisor will be appointed as administrator with the aim to maximise the return to the company’s secured and unsecured creditors.

“For individuals who have purchased tickets in advance, we will be ensuring that they receive a refund if the show is not available via the new operator”.

The statement said the administration strategy will be to agree terms with a chosen operator who will take over the running of Preston Guild Hall.

Lisa Matthew, operations director of Guild Group, said: “We are currently exploring all options for reopening whilst we prepare the ground for the new operator.”

The Guild Hall’s Great Hall and Charter Theatre closed their doors last week. Businesses based in the city centre building are unaffected and remain open.

We are currently exploring all options for reopening whilst we prepare the ground for the new operator.

Mr Rigby bought the building from Preston City Council in 2014. Announcing the shutdown last week he said he hoped it would only be temporary and talks were continuing with the business looking to take over the running of the venue.

The Lancashire entrepreneur said negotiations with specialist live music and venues Company VMS Live has been delayed by the tragic death of its owner Steve Forster following a road traffic accident.

He said the delay meant that he was forced to “review the viability” of the business, adding that he wanted to treat creditors fairly.

Mr Rigby said he remained hopeful a long-term contract with VMS Live could be agreed which would lead the Guild Hall back to “its rightful position as the leading regional live entertainment venue.”

The venue opened in 1972 and has hosted star turns such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as once being the regular home of the UK Snooker Championships.