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Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud spends his TV day job watching people transform properties into the homes of their dreams.

However, investors in the eco-housing firm HAB Housing that the 62-year-old presenter (pictured) founded have been left thoroughly disgruntled and potentially out of pocket.

For I can reveal the company is now in debt to the tune of almost £3 million, up from £2.4 million in previously filed accounts in 2019.

McCloud launched Happiness Architecture Beauty (HAB) in 2007 with the — some might now say — ironic slogan ‘to make homes that lift the spirits’, quite the opposite of what investors will surely be feeling when they cast their eyes over the latest set of company accounts.

From 2013 to 2017, McCloud’s businesses were able to raise money for the scheme by issuing mini-bonds to investors, which effectively worked as IOUs. For the first round in 2013, 650 people put a combined £1.9 million into the scheme — a crowdfunding world record at the time.

Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud spends his TV day job watching people transform properties into the homes of their dreams

Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud spends his TV day job watching people transform properties into the homes of their dreams

Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud spends his TV day job watching people transform properties into the homes of their dreams

The second scheme, in 2017 saw HAB Land Ltd, the land acquisition arm of the business, raise a further £2.4 million, where investors were offered an ‘enviable interest rate’ of 8 per cent. Launching the project, McCloud claimed it would ‘turn housebuilding on its head’ by developing picturesque pieces of architecture which would offer seclusion, privacy and tranquillity.

‘It sounded almost too good to be true and now I know it was,’ one disappointed homeowner in Kings Worthy, Hampshire, tells me. ‘We’ve had to make do with living in an unfinished building site.’

Pictured: The HAB housing development on the edge of Winchester, designed by Kevin McCloud

Pictured: The HAB housing development on the edge of Winchester, designed by Kevin McCloud

Pictured: The HAB housing development on the edge of Winchester, designed by Kevin McCloud

McCloud resigned as a director of HAB Land Ltd in 2018 and control of the company shifted to a company called

McCloud resigned as a director of HAB Land Ltd in 2018 and control of the company shifted to a company called

McCloud resigned as a director of HAB Land Ltd in 2018 and control of the company shifted to a company called

McCloud resigned as a director of HAB Land Ltd in 2018 and control of the company shifted to a company called BAH Restructuring Limited.

In October 2019, KPMG was appointed as a liquidator of BAH Restructuring Limited and HAB Land Limited.

Then in 2020, McCloud sent an email to HAB Housing investors informing them that accountancy firm KPMG was attempting to call in money owed by HAB Housing. It read: ‘HAB Housing cannot pay and could yet be forced into a formal insolvency process.

‘I am determined that investors should see their investment as not entirely lost.’

A representative for McCloud says: ‘He’s not able to comment because of due process HAB Land is going through.’

Dragon gets Hancock hot under the collar

Caught on camera in the clinch with aide Gina Coladangelo that cost him his job as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock is coming out fighting as he gives his side of the story.

Hancock, 43, will appear on The Diary Of A CEO, the podcast hosted by Dragons’ Den judge Steven Bartlett, and was joined by now girlfriend Coladangelo for filming.

Hands on! Caught on camera in the clinch (pictured) with aide Gina Coladangelo that cost him his job as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock is coming out fighting as he gives his side of the story

Hands on! Caught on camera in the clinch (pictured) with aide Gina Coladangelo that cost him his job as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock is coming out fighting as he gives his side of the story

Hands on! Caught on camera in the clinch (pictured) with aide Gina Coladangelo that cost him his job as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock is coming out fighting as he gives his side of the story

And Bartlett, 28, reveals that their conversation became a little animated.

‘This is the first time in the history of The Diary Of A CEO that things got a little heated between me and a guest at one point,’ he admits.

‘However, Matt did answer all of the tough questions I asked him and nothing will be edited out. You will see it all.’

Tarrant ex’s old dog’s new trick: sign language! 

Chris Tarrant’s ex-wife Ingrid once revealed she allowed her pigs the run of her house near Cobham in Surrey.

But now she has turned her attention to teaching sign language to her ageing black labrador Barclay. 

‘He was 17 in November. Unbelievable. He is deaf and I do sign language.’

She adds: ‘It is all polite sign language. It does not involve fingers, you know.’

Ingrid, who divorced the former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host in 2008, says her menagerie makes for great company.

‘I do have the privilege of having a big garden and I have all my animals around me.’

Fancy being the Queen’s chief bean counter at Buckingham Palace? The Royal Household website is advertising for the role of head of finance — who’ll be paid a none-too-shabby £100,000 a year for the privilege. 

The successful candidate will be responsible for a team of about 30 and will have to report to the deputy treasurer. 

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate ‘an ability to work at pace’, ‘juggle a varied workload’, as well as being able to ‘maintain resilience in a deadline’. 

Good luck!

I’m so sick of social media, says Cate

Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett is one of the world’s most respected actresses, but that doesn’t mean that she is helplessly addicted to the spotlight.

Far from it, as the mother-of-four admits she is sickened by the need for actors to constantly live their lives out on social media.

‘The whole thing that has developed with streaming — algorithms that need to be fed — is that somehow we are content providers and that makes me want to throw up,’ says the Australian actress.

Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett is one of the world’s most respected actresses, but that doesn’t mean that she is helplessly addicted to the spotlight

Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett is one of the world’s most respected actresses, but that doesn’t mean that she is helplessly addicted to the spotlight

Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett is one of the world’s most respected actresses, but that doesn’t mean that she is helplessly addicted to the spotlight

The double Oscar winner, who was this week honoured with the first-ever International Lifetime Achievement gong at Goya, Spain’s top film awards, says she feels ‘panic’ about the insatiable appetite for online tittle-tattle.

‘The last thing I want to do is to be someone who is filling space that has been created,’ she says, adding: ‘Don’t say something unless you have something to say.’

I can imagine that Stanley Johnson, who is a devout animal welfare campaigner, might be tempted to put his daughter Rachel in the dog house over her support for West Ham footballer Kurt Zouma.

The PM’s sister has branded the furore over the sports star kicking and slapping his pet cat OTT.

‘I do think we are in danger of over-reacting and cancelling Kurt Zouma for one misguided kick in his kitchen which his silly brother posted on social media,’ says the broadcaster, 56, who hosts a radio show on LBC.

She adds: ‘I think he’s taken his punishment, there are bigger issues at stake.’

Was Liam Neeson rather Taken with an Irish nurse?

Fans of Taken star Liam Neeson have been pondering the identity of his mystery lover.

The Irish actor recently admitted to falling for a woman while filming his new movie Blacklight in Melbourne, and I wonder whether she might have been a nurse.

Neeson, 68, who lost his actress wife Natasha Richardson 13 years ago in a skiing accident, confessed to enjoying his 14-day quarantine after arriving in Australia, thanks to some special treatment he received at his Sydney hotel.

‘I’d get calls from Irish nurses (who would say), ‘Mr Neeson, we’ve made some Irish bread fresh out of the oven, can we bring you up some?’ he reveals. ‘Ten minutes later I open the door and sure enough there’s about five or six nurses all in PPE gear with a plate of bread or Irish scones.

‘It was terribly sweet.’

Brave cancer survivor Tracey Emin was clearly in the Valentine’s Day spirit yesterday as she placed an ad online saying she was looking for a potential suitor.

The former enfant terrible of the art world is seeking a ‘companion and lover, who can’t live without art, loves cats and [is] willing to sacrifice their life for her’.

Emin, 58, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2020 and had her bladder and womb removed, made light of her disabilities in her appeal for romance. Let’s hope Cupid can find her the perfect match.

Cooped-up Clarkson’s girl plans 48 hours on the town

Grand Tour petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson’s daughter Emily is planning an adventure of her own after being cooped up with Covid.

The blogger and author has revealed she plans to run wild for 48 hours after spending ten days in isolation. Posting this snap, Emily, 27, wails: ‘I will never again take for granted how utterly excellent outside is. Watch me leave the house tomorrow morning and stay out for like 48 hours solid.’

Emily, who got engaged to Dublin-born publicist Alex Andrew in early 2020, is due to have a jaw operation next week so will soon be inside again while she recovers.

But she knows how she’s going to spend her time. ‘First stop, wedding dress,’ adds Emily, whose mother is Jeremy’s ex second wife and former manager, Frances Cain.

Source: dailymail

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