Former customers owed money after business collapse left dismayed by council decision

Daily Echo: The closed Prospect Auction rooms. The closed Prospect Auction rooms.

People left out of pocket by the collapse of a Hampshire auction room are furious after planners allowed the boss to open a new business.

Charles Evans, also known as Charles Barney-Evans, applied for permission to convert The Furniture Warehouse in Easton Lane, Winchester, into an auction house while owing thousands of pounds to customers for goods he had sold.

Since the Daily Echo broke the news of Prospect’s collapse in November we have been contacted by around 30, mainly elderly, people who say they are owed money.

Susannah Lyle, of Canon Street, Winchester, is owed £20,000, including her late parents’ Waterford glass valued at about £12,000. She said: “I am enraged, but what can we do about it? I have got my lawyers onto it. Lots of people are terribly upset by it.”

Another man, who is owed around £500 and asked not to be named, said: “It is sickening that he closed and then simply reopened 10 miles down the road a few months later.

“I know the planners can’t take his character into account but it is still appalling.”

Mr Evans’ whereabouts are unknown although his Saab car with personalised number plates is often seen outside The Furniture Warehouse. The building was being marketed last year at an annual rent of £60,000.

He told the Daily Echo that he planned to “open as soon as possible”.

He added: “The new auction house is nothing to do with Prospect Auctions. I was not the boss, I was the overseer, the manager. The place at Winnall is mine.

“I don’t owe any money. I was not the boss or the owner. Gemma Sharp was. All I am trying to do is start a business. That is all I’m going to say,” he said.

Miss Sharp, of Station Road, Alresford, was declared bankrupt at Winchester County Court on January 16. The extent and cause of her debts were unclear.

But Mr Evans’ claim not to have been the boss contradicts his planning application to the city council.

Mr Evans clearly stated he wanted to take on a ten-year lease and employ 15 people, ten more than in Alresford.

The application states: “The reason for leasing the building is due to expansion. I started the auction house in Prospect Road three years ago and have outgrown the premises. These premises are currently empty and potentially could stay empty for a long period. It is always better to see a thriving business than empty buildings.”

Mr Evans claimed last November that he was putting the Alresford business into the hands of the receivers. But the Daily Echo has checked with the Insolvency Service, which holds records of bankruptcies, and there are no records of either Prospect or Mr Evans entering into bankruptcy proceedings as would normally happen.

Companies House has no records as Prospect was not a limited company. Dozens of complaints are believed to have been made to Hampshire Trading Standards, which has declined to discuss the case.

At the time of the planning application, a city council spokesman said the planners could only consider the issue on its planning merits and could not take issues such as Mr Evans’ track record into account.

The change of use was granted under the planning officers' delegated powers.

The spokesman said: “A decision on planning permission relates to the use of the site. It is not related to the applicant. In other words, if and when planning permission is granted for a change of use, it could be taken up by another individual or business. The permission relates to the appropriate use of the site, not to the applicant.”

Comments (6)

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12:50pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Big Mac says...

I can already imagine Mr Evans under the hammer...
I can already imagine Mr Evans under the hammer... Big Mac

3:11pm Thu 28 Feb 13

loosehead says...

This is what is wrong with the law concerning companies.
A person can own a company but the debt is in the companies name so that person can't be touched?
A/several persons can set up a company call themselves directors & once again they take all the money out of the company yet can't be touched?
Rovers comes to mind.
This guy & people like him shouldn't be allowed to trade in any guise.
My brother sub contracted to a building company in Fareham which had a ltd sign at the end of the company name.
the big house the porsche & the huge amounts the Ltd company earned were put into the wifes name & before the company paid for all the work on Sainsbury's/Marks & spencers Hedge end by the sub contractors he the owner declared himself bankrupt & closed the company down only to restart a company with nearly the same name?
Luckily my brother got him on VAT returns or as well as bankrupt my brother would have lost his home.
The Laws have to be changed & this guy shouldn't be trading
This is what is wrong with the law concerning companies. A person can own a company but the debt is in the companies name so that person can't be touched? A/several persons can set up a company call themselves directors & once again they take all the money out of the company yet can't be touched? Rovers comes to mind. This guy & people like him shouldn't be allowed to trade in any guise. My brother sub contracted to a building company in Fareham which had a ltd sign at the end of the company name. the big house the porsche & the huge amounts the Ltd company earned were put into the wifes name & before the company paid for all the work on Sainsbury's/Marks & spencers Hedge end by the sub contractors he the owner declared himself bankrupt & closed the company down only to restart a company with nearly the same name? Luckily my brother got him on VAT returns or as well as bankrupt my brother would have lost his home. The Laws have to be changed & this guy shouldn't be trading loosehead

5:37pm Thu 28 Feb 13

mickey01 says...

Big Mac wrote:
I can already imagine Mr Evans under the hammer...
or at least the saab !!!
[quote][p][bold]Big Mac[/bold] wrote: I can already imagine Mr Evans under the hammer...[/p][/quote]or at least the saab !!! mickey01

5:59pm Thu 28 Feb 13

elvisimo says...

Repulsive piece of sh. It . Hope he meets a horrible long painful end. People like this never change.
Repulsive piece of sh. It . Hope he meets a horrible long painful end. People like this never change. elvisimo

7:29pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Subject48 says...

@ loosehead

You have posted some good stuff.

But mind boggles why do you vote tory if thats the case!?
@ loosehead You have posted some good stuff. But mind boggles why do you vote tory if thats the case!? Subject48

9:35pm Fri 1 Mar 13

loosehead says...

Subject48 wrote:
@ loosehead

You have posted some good stuff.

But mind boggles why do you vote tory if thats the case!?
I looked at the three main parties & the Conservative Party had more to offer me & when they say they'll attack the scroungers I know they will.
I will never vote Labour again as even though I never agreed with 9o% of their policies they promised a referendum on Europe until Young took over.
we were lied to by Brown who promised us a vote on the new constitution they changed the title & he never gave us a vote as it had another name?
The last Government could have changed the law on companies but didn't.
I've heard today that this council ( Southampton) are going to let Barrets build flats on a designated wildlife area along Lordshill Way. this estate is under the required space per person & it's the most concentrated housing in this city so taking away the only green wildlife area is wrong but after Oaklands Pool & now the School what should we expect from Labour?
I'm going to look into UKIP more than I have & make up my mind who I vote for at the next election it could swing on if we get a referendum on the EU or not
[quote][p][bold]Subject48[/bold] wrote: @ loosehead You have posted some good stuff. But mind boggles why do you vote tory if thats the case!?[/p][/quote]I looked at the three main parties & the Conservative Party had more to offer me & when they say they'll attack the scroungers I know they will. I will never vote Labour again as even though I never agreed with 9o% of their policies they promised a referendum on Europe until Young took over. we were lied to by Brown who promised us a vote on the new constitution they changed the title & he never gave us a vote as it had another name? The last Government could have changed the law on companies but didn't. I've heard today that this council ( Southampton) are going to let Barrets build flats on a designated wildlife area along Lordshill Way. this estate is under the required space per person & it's the most concentrated housing in this city so taking away the only green wildlife area is wrong but after Oaklands Pool & now the School what should we expect from Labour? I'm going to look into UKIP more than I have & make up my mind who I vote for at the next election it could swing on if we get a referendum on the EU or not loosehead

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