Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Asco faces winding-up petition for £25k unpaid bill

The supermarket 'chain' being courted by Lancaster City Council to take over Lancaster's market building, ASCO Stores Ltd has had a winding-up petition lodged against it by Evolve Group who claim Asco has failed to pay a £25,000 bill due three months ago, according to a report by Crains.

The Grocer also reports this week that Asco, whose sole store opened in Warrington last December, has also had five separate County Court judgements lodged against it since January - including three in March - amounting to £19,443 in total.

Ted Ward, Asco's 'business consultant' and originally its sole shareholder and founder, stepped down as director in January following the compulsory liquidation of his property development company, Blackhurst and Ward, which had unpaid debts of £600k+ and a history of financial impropriety with credit obtained from various clients for projects which were never initiated.

The Council Cabinet met yesterday to discuss the future of the Market building, which faces an uncertain future as a result of the disasterous rental deal which has hamstrung it ever since it was opened and forced rents and rates substantially higher than in neighbouring markets. A report is being prepared for the full council meeting on 31 March.

Councillors face a tricky decision as money is tight following the loss of substantial assets to Icelandic bank failure, but public opinion has been vehemently opposed to market closure and elections loom.

• Read more in our previous report