West Norfolk entrepreneur forced to put £1m mansion on the market - and to sell light aircraft- after company he founded collapses

PUBLISHED: 10:35 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:35 10 October 2016

Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech

Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech

Archant

Entrepreneur Rod Herbert has been forced to put his £1million West Norfolk home on the market - and to sell his private plane- following the collapse of his engineering business with the loss of 80 jobs.

Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near WisbechSowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech

Insolvency specialists Deloitte has now produced a list of creditors showing the group’s combined debts to total more than £11 million.

The R J Herbert group was based at Marshland St James near Wisbech and founded in 1972 by Mr Herbert.

Administrators were called in this summer but after extensive discussions were unable to rescue most of the group although 32 staff were transferred to Herbert Systems, an associated business which continues to trade normally.

Deloitte believe the company, which produced specialist potato and vegetable processing equipment, fell victim to trading conditions.

Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech

Chris Farrington of Deloitte’s said “difficult market conditions in the agricultural sector” had prompted the administration. Originally Deloitte’s hoped to find a buyer for the engineering division but were unable to do so.

In a statement issued by Deloitte’s dozens of companies affected by the administration have been published; a list of creditors runs to over 450 companies and individuals with debts ranging from bankers and finance companies owed up to £3 million to smaller creditors such as a Kings Lynn taxi firm owed £180.

A note in the administrators’ report shows how Mr Herbert’s home at Walpole Highway is secured against company debts.

“£720,000 owed to Asset Finance Partners Ltd by R J Herbert Group Ltd, which was cross guaranteed by R J Herbert Engineering Ltd which will be subject to any dividend to unsecured creditors paid in the administration of R J Herbert Group Ltd,” says the report.

Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech

“This balance is also secured against the home of Mr R J Herbert who is a shareholder of R J Herbert Group Ltd.”

Prospective buyers of Mr Herbert’s home can expect a country home with six bedrooms, six reception rooms, five acres of sprawling grounds, a paddock and what agents describe as a “stunning pool house”.

The agents say: “These are some of the best private grounds we have seen and they include a large pond with cascading Scottish granite waterfall, jetty decking, formal lawns, sandstone terrace and woodland walks.

“Outbuildings include a substantial period barn used for garage and storage with a wine cellar and first floor snooker and games room with dance studio/gym space.”

Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech Sowerbys are inviting offers of nearly £1m for Rod Herbert's home near Wisbech

Mr Herbert has also sold his private plane for an estimated £23,000; a Cessna 310R.

A statement on the company’s website confirms that “Christopher James Farrington and Matthew James Cowlishaw were appointed joint administrators of RJ Herbert Engineering Limited and RJ Herbert Group Limited on July 14, 2016.

“The affairs, business and property of the companies are managed by the joint administrators.”

THE LIST OF CREDITORS INCLUDES:

•Cheffins auctioneering of Sutton, Ely: £7,200

•Stansted Airport: £335,739

•Morrison supermarkets plc: £200,000

•Advance Water Treatment, Downham Market; £1,633

•Anglia Installation Maintenance, West Bilney; £35,308

•Anglia Building Consultant Ltd, Outwell; £1,553

•Anglia Farmers Ltd, Colton, Norwich; £6,944

•R Askew, agricultural supplies, Marshland St James; £5,172

•Blackburns Metals Ltd, Norwich; £5,927

•West Norfolk Council; £48,097

•British Carrot Growers, Witchford, Ely; £330

•Carter Haulage, Shouldham Thorpe; £16,416

•Compressor Systems, Hockering; £1,400

•D H Signs, Downham Market; £267

•Dawbarn and Sons Ltd, Wisbech; £7,353

•DVS Plating, Denver; £60

•Eriks Industrial Services, Kings Lynn; £17,408

•Fenbelt, Clay Street, Soham; £189,622

•Freestone Engineering, Clenchwarton; £3,483

•Hayley Group plc, King’s Lynn; £203,617

•A T Johnston, Downham Market; £3,439

•J M Lane Engineering, Wisbech; £11,640

•Aviva, Surrey Street, Norwich; £77,406

•Nicolson Machinery Ltd, Southery; £22.92

•Kloeckner Metals, Ryston; £20,020

•Panks Engineering Ltd, Norwich; £29,581

•Precision Plus Engineering, Downham Market; £12,256

•Roomfoss Control Systems, King’s Lynn; £43,775

•Rowlinson Packaging, Thetford; £5,745

•The Machine Install Co, Terrington St John; £28,186

•Wheelers, Wisbech; £8,087

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