Legal proceedings have brought work to a halt on a £14 million new-build Jaguar Land Rover site in Wolverhampton.
Seventy jobs have been put at risk because the former franchise holder for the brands in the city Pendragon has launched a High Court action to attempt to stop a former director from opening a flagship city centre development for JLR.
James Brearley was managing director of Pendragon’s premium Stratstone division and Chatfield’s Trucks, until he left the AM100 group at the end of April. His new business JRB Automotive had partnered with JLR on the new build centre in Penn Road.
Pendragon closed its Land Rover business in Wolverhampton in 2012.
Richard Bayley, director of project managers Building and Cost Management, said: “We have been informed the former dealership operator for Jaguar Land Rover in Wolverhampton, Pendragon, has launched a High Court action to attempt to prevent the former managing director, who lives near Wolverhampton and his new company JRB Automotive, from proceeding with the flagship city centre development on Jaguar Land Rover’s behalf.
“The development has come to a halt for reasons that we have no control over.
“We acknowledge this puts at risk the 70 jobs that were being created and are aware that this will leave the gateway site to the west of the city undeveloped for the foreseeable future.
“We also appreciate the disappointment this will cause the leaders of Wolverhampton City Council who have been extremely supportive of the planned development.
All machinery and personnel have now vacated the site and the investors in the development including the Birmingham City Council local enterprise development fund have been informed, Bayley said.
“We understand that Jaguar Land Rover are working hard to attempt to resolve the situation.”
Artist's impression of the proposed new JLR centre in Wolverhampton
The new dealership was reported to be due to open during the first quarter of this year after getting planning permission in May.
The dispute is said to be listed in the High Court in March.