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  1. ITV Report

Angry investors begin legal action over unfinished projects which have seen millions of pounds disappear

Angry investors have begun legal action against a high-profile businessman, who is behind unfinished projects which have seen millions of pounds disappear.

Self-styled entrepreneur Gavin Woodhouse wooed investors with plans to build care homes in England - and a new adventure park in Wales.

After ITV News revealed the story on Wednesday, on Thursday, seven investors who put their savings into businesses owned by Mr Woodhouse have taken legal action.

They have applied to the High Court to have four of his companies taken into administration.

The companies concerned include three responsible for some of Woodhouse’s incomplete care home projects - MBI Clifton Moor Limited, MBI Walsden Care Limited and MBI Hawthorn Care Limited.

The adventure resort project in Wales is estimated at a cost of £200m. Credit: Afan Valley Adventure Resort/Northern Powerhouse Developments

Mr Woodhouse raised millions of pounds from investors for those projects but has so far failed to build the care homes as planned.

The application for administration also includes Afan Valley Limited, Woodhouse’s company which is promoting his £200 million South Wales adventure resort.

The investors are seeking the appointment of insolvency firm Duff & Phelps as administrators.

Phil Duffy, Managing Director of Duff & Phelps told ITV News: “The latest publicly filed accounts of those four companies show them all to be insolvent on a balance sheet basis, so creditors are concerned they are not going to get their money back.”

The administration application is expected to be heard by a judge in the next few weeks, who will decide whether to grant the orders.

The Afan Valley project is in the Aberavon constituency of MP Stephen Kinnock.

MP Stephen Kinncok said Mr Woodhouse 'needs to come forward and clear his name'. Credit: PA

He told ITV News: “I think Mr Woodhouse needs to come forward and clear his name.

"Clearly this is now going to be a matter of public interest.

"Interest to my community, my constituents, everybody in the constituency is very excited about the project and it would be deeply disappointing if we run into a serious obstacle now.

"So I want to see rapid clarity and assurances that this is a sustainable and watertight business model and if we can’t have that then we need to bring another agency in to give us those assurances.”

Adventurer turned television presenter, Bear Grylls, appeared in a marketing video for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort and said he had decided to base the Bear Grylls Survival Academy there.

The Afan Valley project had been endorsed by the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, which ITV News and the Guardian understand was being paid £180,000 per year to endorse it.

There is no suggestion that Mr Grylls or the Survival Academy was aware of Mr Woodhouse’s background when the partnership was agreed.

In a statement released to ITV News, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy said they had been "made aware of the recent allegations brought against Mr Woodhouse and are naturally concerned about the seriousness of the charges.

"As such, we are conducting a full internal review of the relationship while we wait for all facts to materialise and plan to take all necessary steps to ensure the integrity of our business.

"The Academy continues to have a vision to bring adventure to people of all ages around the world and it stands by that commitment to the community of South Wales.”

In a statement, Mr Woodhouse's company, Northern Powerhouse Developments, said: "We acknowledge the concerns raised by Stephen Kinnock MP in relation to Afan Valley and his constituency, and of the Bear Grylls Survival Academy (BGSA).

“But we can assure all concerned that we remain as committed as ever to delivering the Afan Valley project in Wales as planned. 

"We are aware of the requirements of Neath Port Talbot Council and we recognise that full planning permission will be granted on condition of further financial and legal obligations being met. 

"Those detailed and complex obligations are being finalised by our specialists and will be with the council by the end of July. 

"We are on track to deliver what we have proposed.

"Afan Valley is still very much a sustainable and watertight business model.

“And, like the BGSA, we are excited at the prospect of bringing adventure and opportunity to the community of South Wales.”