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Kevin McCloud property firms face liquidation

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TV presenter Kevin McCloud founded the two companies, which have called in the liquidators

People who put money into two businesses started by Grand Designs star Kevin McCloud face the prospect of losing almost their entire investment.

HAB Land Finance, named after Mr McCloud’s Happiness Architecture Beauty brand, raised £2.4m from 280 people.

But investors could be almost wiped out after the company and its owner, HAB Land – which was set up to buy sites for housing estates in Oxford and Winchester – called in liquidators.

Mr McCloud had advertised 8% returns.

However, according to KPMG, which has been appointed to liquidate the two companies, the firms were hurt by a period of “difficult trading”.

In 2017, Mr McCloud had told potential investors his company was delivering “triple bottom line returns with progress on energy positivity”.

Those potential investors were pitched so-called “mini-bonds” with 8% returns to crowdfund the projects in Oxford and Winchester.

Almost 300 people put their money in to lend HAB Land Finance £2.4m to build the estates.

But they have not seen a return on that investment.

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HAB Housing

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Architect’s drawing of a HAB home in Winchester

In August, the firm wrote to bondholders to inform them that they could lose up to 97% of their investment.

A letter, published by the Guardian, said: “After final completion of the projects at both Kings Worthy and Cumnor Hill [in Oxford], the net return available to bondholders would be expected to range from £606,000 (best case) to £69,000 (worse case) which, in each case, is equivalent to 26 pence and 3 pence for every £1 of bond monies invested.”

Mr McCloud resigned from both firms in March last year.

Since then directors of HAB Land have reviewed the firm’s finances and reached the conclusion that “they may not be in a position to repay” bondholders, according to KPMG.

It said the directors wrote to the bondholders “putting forward proposals in order to repay them” but those plans were rejected.

As a result, the firm’s board decided to put the company into liquidation.

‘Considerable loss’

In a statement, one of the liquidators James Bennett said: “The directors have reported that higher than anticipated design and project management costs, coupled with delays to the delivery of the sites, resulted in the companies experiencing significant liquidity issues.”

He said the directors decided to liquidate the firm after they were unable to raise further finance or renegotiate existing debts.

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A promised orchard and play area at HAB Housing’s Lovedon Fields site in Hampshire is currently a building site

“This has resulted in a considerable loss to mini-bond holders who largely financed the project,” he said.

HAB Land director, Simon Bullock, said in a statement: “With only 22% of the mini-bond holders voting for the resolution and having exhausted all other options we were left with no alternative but to commence proceedings to put these companies into liquidation.

“With respect to the current HAB development sites in Oxfordshire and Winchester, none of the homeowners are directly impacted by this change although the situation remains fluid and under review,” he said.

“This has meant that there is, what we hope to be, a temporary pause on the remaining works on the sites.”

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Prices for Lovedon Fields homes started at £467,500

The site in Winchester has been criticised because a road was left unsurfaced and promised facilities have still not been built.

Winchester City Council said HAB Housing had not built allotments, an orchard or play area at Lovedon Fields, Kings Worthy, Hampshire.

The BBC has contacted a spokesperson for Mr McCloud for comment.


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Sausage roll enthusiast LadBaby takes aim at second Christmas number one

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The star recorded his new single with his wife, Roxanne, at Abbey Road studios

YouTube star LadBaby, who scored last year’s Christmas number one with an ode to sausage rolls, is mounting a second assault on the charts.

The “dad blogger” has rewritten Joan Jett’s I Love Rock & Roll for this year’s attempt; once again extolling the virtues of pork-stuffed pastry.

I Love Sausage Rolls was recorded at Abbey Road, but LadBaby maintains he’s “no more professional” than before.

“Brace yourself, my singing voice is back,” he told the BBC.

The single won’t be released until Friday, 13 December – but it’s crammed full of meaty puns, leading to the inevitable chorus: “I love sausage rolls / So put another one in the oven, baby“.

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Ladbaby, whose real name is Mark Hoyle, said the parody was written in “about five hours” after he and his wife Roxanne chose it from a playlist of the UK’s favourite karaoke songs.

“We basically went down the Top 50 karaoke songs in the UK – because we wanted a song, like last year, where everyone knows the words and you can sing along to it and the kids can join in and have fun.”

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Proceeds from the single will support food banks, which see a surge in demand over Christmas

Last year, the YouTube star captured the public’s imagination with the comedy hit We Built This City On Sausage Rolls. The song went straight to number one, beating the likes of Ava Max and Ariana Grande, as well as seasonal favourites by Mariah Carey and The Pogues.

All of the proceeds went to The Trussell Trust, a foodbank charity, funding about 70,000 emergency food packages over the festive period.

Hoyle said he had intended to end the story there, until he saw the charity’s work first-hand.

“We basically spent a few days meeting the volunteers and understanding how the food banks work,” he said, “and while we were there, the doorbell rang once every two or three minutes with more people coming in.

“Once we saw how far the money goes, we thought, ‘Do you know what? If we can get anywhere near raising that sort of money again, then why not?'”

According to The Trussell Trust’s own research, more than 823,000 parcels were provided by food banks in the UK between April and September this year – an increase of 23% increase from the same period as last year.

“They said the Christmas period is the worst – that’s when they have the most people in,” Hoyle added. “So for us, it was a no-brainer to try to help those guys again.”

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LadBaby

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The single’s artwork parodies The Beatles’ classic Abbey Road album sleeve, starring Mark, Roxanne and their two sons

If I Love Sausage Rolls gets to number one, LadBaby will be only the third act in UK chart history to have consecutive Christmas chart-toppers.

“There’s a chance we can be in there with the Beatles and the Spice Girls,” says Hoyle. “There’s never been a novelty act with back-to-back Christmas number ones, so we could make some history.”

However, the record faces stiff competition this year, with the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift taking a swing at the festive chart.

Australian artist Tones & I could also cling on to the top spot – she’s currently enjoying a 10th week at number one with the quirky pop single Dance Monkey; while fans of Wham! are trying to propel Last Christmas to number one (for the first time) in honour of the song’s 35th anniversary.

LadBaby isn’t even the only charity single in the running: Broadchurch actor Shaun Dooley has teamed up with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band to cover Taylor Swift’s Never Grow Up in aid of Children In Need; while six-year-old Lyra Cole has recorded a version of When A Child is Born for Brain Tumour Research, which helped her through emergency surgery as a baby.

“It feels like there’s more competition this year,” agrees Hoyle, “so the chances of doing it again seem very slim.”

But if they reach their goal, he promises to go one better next year.

“We were joking the other day, ‘How do you get bigger than Abbey Road?'” he says. “And I think we’d have to fly to LA and do an album with Dr Dre.”

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Jacqueline Jossa wins I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

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Former EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa has won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! after spending three weeks in the Australian jungle.

The actress was named queen of the jungle, following in the footsteps of previous winners like Harry Redknapp, Stacey Solomon and Kerry Katona.

Co-presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly revealed the winner at the end of the final of the ITV reality show.

Actor Andy Whyment was the runner-up, with radio DJ Roman Kemp in third.

Jossa played Lauren Branning in BBC soap EastEnders between 2010 and 2018.

After she was named queen of the jungle, she said: “I have no words.”

This year’s series – the 19th – was the first not to have live insects eaten as part of the show’s “bushtucker trials”.

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Coronation Street actor Andy Whyment took part in a “bushtucker bonanza” before he came second

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Radio host Roman Kemp came third

Any insects consumed on the show were already dead – though live creepy-crawlies were still dumped on its celebrity contestants.

But the show was not without controversy, with former sports stars James Haskell and Ian Wright being accused of bullying their fellow campmates.

Viewers also contacted media watchdog Ofcom to complain that some of the show’s challenges were too hard and thus unfair.

There was contention before the series even aired, with former Commons Speaker John Bercow demanding a newspaper apologise for claiming he had asked for £1m to appear.

DJ Tony Blackburn was the first celebrity to be crowned King of the Jungle when the show first aired in 2002.

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Juice Wrld: US rapper dies aged 21 ‘after seizure at airport’

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Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was considered to be a rising star of rap musicImage copyright
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Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was considered to be a rising star of rap music

Juice Wrld, a US rapper who shot to fame on music streaming platforms, has died at the age of 21.

Celebrity news website TMZ said he died after suffering a seizure at Chicago’s Midway airport on Sunday morning.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause was unknown.

Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was best-known for his viral 2018 hit Lucid Dreams. Mental health, mortality and drug use were common themes in his music.

Chicago police told the BBC a 21-year-old man suffered a medical emergency at around 02:00 local time (08:00 GMT) and was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, told the Chicago Sun Times there were “no signs of foul play” and it was unclear whether drugs played a role in his death.

Who was Juice Wrld?

Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1998, Juice Wrld started rapping in high school, using online music streaming platform SoundCloud to upload and promote his music.

He went on to release his debut full-length EP, 999, on the platform in 2017, garnering him attention from fellow Chicago-based artists such as G Herbo and Lil Bibby.

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Juice Wrld shot to fame in 2018, when hit single Lucid Dreams reached number two in the charts

The rapper rose to fame in 2018, when hit singles All Girls Are the Same and Lucid Dreams, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, drew the attention of music fans and record labels.

More plaudits followed the release first studio album, Goodbye & Good Riddance, in 2018, cementing his himself as one of the rising stars of US rap.

In early 2018, he was signed by Interscope Records, landing a record deal reported to be worth more than $3m (£2.2m). He topped the Billboard chart this year with his second album Death Race for Love.

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Juice Wrld celebrated his 21st birthday last week

In one of his songs, Juice Wrld rapped about the short lives of artists, saying “all the legends seem to die out”.

The song, titled Legends, was dedicated to two late rappers, 20-year-old XXXTentacion and 21-year-old Lil Peep, who died in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

In the song Juice Wrld rapped: “What’s the 27 Club? We ain’t making it past 21. I been going through paranoia.”

Juice Wrld had celebrated his 21st birthday last week. In a tweet, he said it was “one of his best” birthdays yet.

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Media captionGrime artist Ransom FA spoke to the BBC about the challenges of breaking into the music industry

His music has been described as emo rap, a genre that draws influences from hip hop and alternative rock.

In a four-star review of his second album, music publication NME said the rapper “makes songs that stick, his vocal dissonance capturing what it feels like to be young and in pain, and feeling a sense of indifference towards authority figures”.

In a 2018 interview with the New York Times, Juice Wrld opened up about his use of cannabis and Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication.

“I smoke weed, and every now and then I slip up and do something that’s poor judgment,” he told the paper.

Who has paid tribute?

In a tweet, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, who collaborated with Juice Wrld on her 2019 single Hate Me, described the rapper as “such a sweet soul” who had “so much further to go”.

Chicago-based artist Chance the Rapper paid a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, writing: “Millions of people, not just in Chicago but around the world are hurting because of this and don’t know what to make of it.”

“Wow, I cannot believe this. Rip my brother juice world,” tweeted fellow rapper Lil Yachty.

US rapper Lil Nas X, also writing on Twitter, said it is “so sad how often this is happening lately to young talented rising artists”.

Hip hop artist HaHa Davis wrote on Twitter: “Heartbroken @JuiceWorlddd I love you bro.”





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