Investors in an eco-friendly property venture launched by Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud have said they fear they may never see their money again.
McCloud launched Happiness Architecture Beauty (HAB) in 2007 “to make homes that lift the spirits”.
But the Guardian reported on Friday that an email sent by McCloud to HAB Housing investors said that accountancy firm KPMG had attempted to call in money owed by HAB Housing.
“HAB Housing cannot pay and could yet be forced into a formal insolvency process,” the email was reported as saying, adding: “I am determined that investors should see their investment as not entirely lost.”
McCloud resigned as a director of HAB Land Ltd in 2018 and control of the company was acquired by another firm, BAH Restructuring Limited.
In October 2019, KPMG was appointed as a liquidator of BAH Restructuring Limited, HAB Land Limited and HAB Land Finance plc.
KPMG said in October that HAB Housing Limited was unaffected by those liquidation proceedings.
Joint liquidator James Bennett said last October: “The directors have reported that higher-than- anticipated design and project management costs, coupled with delays to the delivery of the sites, resulted in the companies experiencing significant liquidity issues.”
The Guardian quoted Robin Brookes, who put £5,000 into HAB Housing after it launched an equity crowdfunding campaign, as saying: “It is starting to look like I will be getting nothing back at all.”
Retired teacher Gill Mascord, who had previously invested £3,000, told the PA news agency that while she had not read the latest email reported in the Guardian, she felt the money was already “lost”.
She said: “I’m not expecting to get any of the money back.”
Ms Mascord said she had been aware there were potential investment risks, but added: “It felt less risky because Kevin McCloud was involved with it and because the principles that they were using seemed like wholly good ones.
“I have never invested like that before and I never will again.”