Itchenor boat firm owes £800,000

The historic shipyard now faces an uncertain future
The historic shipyard now faces an uncertain future

ITCHENOR boat builder Southerly went bust owing debts of more than £800,000, including £67,480 to Chichester District Council, the Observer has learnt.

A list of creditors published by Companies House shows that Southerly Yachts Ltd accrued debts of £809,840 in only 15 months of trading

The luxury yacht-maker, based at Northshore Shipyard, Itchenor, went into liquidation last month, costing 50 jobs.

Southerly was formed from the ashes of SY Yachts Southern Ltd, which went into voluntary liquidation in May 2013, reportedly owing nearly £2m.

On that occasion, HM Revenue & Customs had to pay out more than £685,000 in redundancy, VAT and National Insurance, and the taxman is again the biggest loser, with £308,713 listed as outstanding debt.

Southerly’s total assets are listed as just £200 cash in the bank.

Sunchalk Ltd, the master company controlled by Lester Abbott that owns Northshore Shipyard, is owed £132,182.

Southerly’s demise ends more than 300 years of boat-building at Itchenor.

But Richard Craven, Chichester harbour master, said: “As I understand it, the boat-building arm of Southerly has gone, but the shipyard itself is a separate business and that will continue trading. So they will focus on running 
the business as a boatyard, continuing to do things like maintenance and storage, rather then continue as a boat-builder.”

The Observer tried to contact Southerly, but no-one was available for comment.