Dorset

Boscombe artificial reef firm ASR to be struck off register

Surfing on Bournemouth seafront
Image caption The area has been rebranded a "coastal activity park"

The firm that built Europe's first artificial surf reef is to be struck off a companies' register following the conclusion of its liquidation.

The £3.2m structure, built by New Zealand firm ASR in Boscombe, Bournemouth, was beset with problems after it opened in 2009.

Liquidators said claims totalling NZ$400,000 (£230,000) had been made and about NZ$21,000 (£12,000) paid out.

The firm will now be removed from the New Zealand Register of Companies.

Assets sold

Liquidator PWC said ASR's director Nick Behunin had still not been traced "despite the assistance of the public in providing contact details".

Assets including cash, two cars, one trailer and office equipment had been sold for about NZ$7,600 (£4,300), it added.

PWC said five "preferential claims" totalling NZ$242,521.28 (£136,976.02) were received for petitioning creditors' costs, unpaid taxes, wages and holiday pay, as well as 15 "unsecured" claims totalling NZ$163,923.52 (£92,584).

However, only two payments totalling NZ$21,405.38 (£12,089.76) have so far been made.

Image copyright Jonathan Hutchins
Image caption The reef is made of 55 giant bags filled with sand - seen here as a pile during construction in 2009

The reef - built in the sea east of Boscombe Pier and made of 55 giant sandbags - opened in 2009 after lengthy delays.

It closed in 2011 for three years when it was damaged by a boat's propeller.

ASR went into liquidation during repair work in 2012.

Bournemouth Borough Council previously said it would not pursue the £15,000 it was owed.

The authority has since rebranded the site a "multi-purpose" reef, as part of its coastal activity park.

Image caption Surfers have said they do not use the reef, sticking instead to the waters either side of Boscombe Pier

Surf reef timeline

•July 2008 - Construction begins

•November 2009 - Reef opens

•May 2010 - Wave quality deemed "sub-standard" in report

•November 2010 - Safety report reveals structure "hazards"

•March 2011 - Reef closes after sandbags damaged

•April 2011 - Repairs begin

•September 2012 - ASR Ltd goes into liquidation

•November 2013 - Council receives £306,531 insurance settlement

•April 2014 - Reef reopens


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