AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after the company involved in a £5.6 million empty homes deal in East Lancashire went into liquidation.

Several questions remain over the demise of lettings firm AAAW Ltd, run by Todmorden-based Clive Thomasson, which collapsed owing more than £275,000.


Before it went bust AAAW was responsible, under contract, to five of the six local councils, for renovating properties on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency as part of the Pennine Lancashire Empty Homes contract.

An inquiry has been announced by Rossendale Council, which oversaw the deal for Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn and Pendle Councils, after it was confirmed AAAW had been wound up.

Council bosses in Rossendale insist they have taken “decisive action” in the wake of AAAW’s failure – though they are remaining tight-lipped over how many of the 515 homes which should have been overhauled were completed.

Councillor Darryl Smith, Conservative opposition leader in Rossendale, said: “There is a whole host of questions that will need to be answered over the conduct of this contract.

“There was a report in February 2012 relating to this contract but that is the only official dealings which have been mentioned. The council has said it has taken every reasonable step but it is still early days yet.”

Stuart Sugarman, Rossendale Council’s chief executive, said: “Since the company’s collapse, the council has taken decisive action to manage the impact and mitigate the risks, which we have done well.

“We set up an internal project team, secured the properties and identified any vulnerable tenants and protected them. We are still analysing what the financial impact will be to the council and we are undertaking a full investigation into what happened – especially around the management of the contract.”

And a Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) spokesman said: “We are meeting regularly with Rossendale and understand that a review is currently under way and this process is being managed internally.”