Decision postponed on former Lexi site

MANCHESTER’S planning committee has deferred a decision on an application by accountancy firm KPMG for 400 homes and around 180,000 sq ft of employment space on a 47-acre brownfield site in Newton Heath.

KPMG lodged the application as administrator of Lexi Holdings – the bridging loans firm owned by Shaid Luqman which collapsed in 2006 owing Barclays more than £100m.

The site is the former Jackson Brickworks on Ten Acres Lane in Newton Heath which is now overgrown.

Some nearby residents argue they had previously been promised the land would be left as open space and want a re-think. The council’s planning committee decided to visit the site before making a decision.

The scheme is only just being brought forwards now – more than seven years after the collapse of Lexi Holdings – as there had been an ownership dispute between Barclays and the site’s former owner, Trevor Guy.

Mr Guy, a property developer from Harrogate, had bought the site in 2003 with a view to developing it for housing. He had talked to Lexi Holdings about a bridging loan, but had always argued that the land had been transferred out of his ownership to a company associated with Lexi without his authority.

Under its ownership, Lexi Holdings used the asset as security for loans provided by Barclays, which later recalled its loans and sought to exercise its security in a bid to sell the site to recoup payment.

A series of disputes between Barclays and Mr Guy followed, which were only resolved in 2010 when Mr Guy was refused the right to appeal against an earlier judgment granting Barclays’ claim over the land.

Since the collapse of Lexi Holdings, founder Shaid Luqman has twice served prison terms for contempt of court proceedings relating to attempts to seize his assets. He fled the country in September 2011 while wearing an electronic tag before the Serious Fraud Office could bring charges. His brother Waheed also fled several months later and was jailed in abstentia for seven-and-a-half years last January.