The final countdown – our best-read stories of the year: 20-11

As the year draws to a close and we all look forward to a week or so of eating and drinking too much, it’s time to take a look back at our best-read stories of the year.

2023 has been a fantastic year for, with over two million people reading our stories, a series of a outstanding events – and a host of exclusive stories

In the fourth part of our top 50 best-read tales of the year, let’s find out what came in from numbers 20 to 11.

20. How and why Billing Aquadrome called the administrators in

In June, the now stricken Royale Group, the owner of holiday parks and a provider of bungalow living for the over 45s, said it had placed Billing Aquadrome in administration “as part of a recapitalisation” of the company.

Royale Group said the move was in response to an aim of installing 1,000 new bungalows across the UK, supposedly starting later in the year. The empire later collapsed with debts of £300m.

19. 99-year-old Nottingham manufacturer enters administration

A Nottingham metalwork firm which was established 99 years ago has fell into administration in July.

Canal Engineering, based on Lenton Lane, ceased trading with all jobs at the firm lost.

The firm’s latest accounts, made up to the end of August last year showed the firm had assets of £4.5m and owed creditors almost £3m.

Canal Engineering employed around 85 people at the time.

18. HMV owner moves closer to Wilko deal

Hopes of a deal to save Wilko were raised at the end of August, after the owner of retail chain HMV was trying to put the finishing touches to a deal which would save around three-quarters of the collapsed empire.

If Doug Putman’s bid had been accepted he would’ve taken over around 300 of Wilko’s 400-store estate – saving around 8,500 jobs.

He eventually walked away from the deal.


Nottingham City Council’s Loxley House HQ

17. Nottingham City Council faces bankruptcy

At the beginning of November, rumours began to emerge that Nottingham City Council was in severe financal jeopardy.

If the Labour-led council was unable to find the cash it needs to meet the finance gap, its finance boss could issue a Section 114 notice, effectively saying it can’t meet its spending forecast for the year – something which eventually happened on November 29.

16. Dains eyes Top 30 with major East Midlands acquisition

In September, accountancy firm Dains swooped for HSKSG, which has offices in Nottingham, Derby and Uttoxeter.

Dain says the deal was a “major step” towards it becoming a Top 30 accountancy firm in the UK.

The deal came just a month after Dains snapped up PSTAX and S3TAX, specialists in the public sector and not-for-profit VAT and employment tax.

15. 400 jobs to go after ‘devastated’ CEO confirms end of the road for major contractor

Around 400 jobs were lost after the CEO of major East Midlands contractor confirmed his firm was to cease trading and appoint administrators from FRP Advisory in June.

J Tomlinson, which had its head office in Beeston, posted a notice of intention to appoint administrators on June 10.

Apart from its Beeston head office, J Tomlinson had bases in Sutton Coldfield, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Wigan, Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, Wakefield and Bulwell, Nottingham.

Mark Davis, CEO of the firm, says the outcome was “tragic”.


Photo courtesy of The Chameleon

14. Landlord set to call time on Nottingham music venue

Nottingham independent live music venue, The Chameleon, looks set to close, it emerged in November.

The Chameleon, a long-time favourite of small and emerging bands from across the world, is up for sale, with its landlord placing the venue on the market.

The team that runs The Chameleon says it doesn’t know exactly when the venue, which has played host to the likes of Sleaford Mods, will close – but it could call last orders as soon as next summer.

13. Angry sub-contractors turn on collapsed J Tomlinson

In July, sub-contractors of collapsed construction and facilities management firm J Tomlinson eacted with anger following the appointment of administrators at the Beeston firm.

Disgruntled subbies took to social media to express their frustration at not being told about the situation.

One said: “[J Tomlinson] didn’t let any contractors know, we were still out on site till 6pm today working for a company that called the administrators this morning. I feel for the staff, but what about my staff and the 60k hole you are going to leave with unpaid bills.”

12. Former Ilkeston chairman allegedly unable to sell Scunthorpe United

Throughout September, the saga of the sale of Scunthorpe United raged.

Then Iron owner David Hilton said he had tried to sell the club but was unable to find a buyer, a man close to him wrote on a Facebook fan group.

Fan Jason Herbert posted what he claimed to be David Hilton’s words to the Scunny United fans group. The post was quickly deleted.

11. High street retailer on brink of collapse

On August 3 we broke the news first that retailer Wilko was on the brink of collapse after it sought court protection from its creditors while it seeks a rescue deal.

The £1.2bn-turnover business had been in trouble for months, exploring CVA options and potential funding.

It eventually collapsed in September, with over 10,000 jobs lost.

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