Centre at heart of legal battle

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THE former owner of Blackpool’s Houndshill centre is locked in a legal battle over the escalating costs of his multi-million pound legal clash with a financial backer.

Burnley FC director and property tycoon Brendan Flood, along with former business partner James Riddell, are being sued for £35m by Anglo Irish Asset Finance plc, part of the Anglo-Irish banking group

It is over alleged personal guarantees under loans relating to two shopping centre developments in Wakefield and Blackpool.

The pair are defending the claim and have issued a counter claim for damages in respect of Anglo Irish’s decision to withdraw loan facilities, which they say led to the collapse of their extensive property group, Manchester-based Modus Ventures, which went into administration in 2009.

In written representations before the court, George Bompas QC, for Flood and Riddell, said: “The proceedings were brought in the context of the collapse and nationalisation of the Anglo Irish banking group in 2008-2009 and its current winding down by the Irish government and the European Union.

“As a result of that collapse the Anglo Irish Asset Finance ceased lending to his clients property developments in the UK, resulting in the collapse of their extensive property group.”

Modus was the firm behind Blackpool’s Houndshill centre and its ambitious expansion plans.

The two men are appealing against a High Court judge’s decision to refuse to order Anglo Irish, to pay £250,000 into court up front as security for legal costs.

Mr Justice Teare ruled on March 4 that, while he was satisfied there was a reason to believe Anglo Irish would not be able to pay Flood and Riddell’s legal costs of the proceedings in the event it is ultimately ordered to do so. Now Flood and Riddell are asking three of the country’s most senior judges, Sir Nicholas Wall, and Lords Justices Rix and Moore-Bick to overturn the ruling.