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Firm behind Downham Market tech campus staves off liquidation

PUBLISHED: 07:52 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:39 08 January 2018

The team behind the CFake project, pictured (from left) John Beer, Michael Carrick, Annabelle Lloyd-Carrick and Peter Twist. Mr Beer's firm is owed £90,000 by Mr Carrick's firm Aventa after the failure of the scheme. Picture: Ian Burt

The team behind the CFake project, pictured (from left) John Beer, Michael Carrick, Annabelle Lloyd-Carrick and Peter Twist. Mr Beer's firm is owed £90,000 by Mr Carrick's firm Aventa after the failure of the scheme. Picture: Ian Burt

The firm behind a £350 million project to build a tech campus at Downham Market owes almost £3m to creditors.

Artist impression of the proposed Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CFake) at Downham Market. Picture: SubmittedArtist impression of the proposed Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CFake) at Downham Market. Picture: Submitted

Aventa Capital Partners Ltd put forward plans in 2014 for a huge scheme called the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CFake) at the old RAF Downham Market site. It promised 6,000 jobs, foreign investment and 12 buildings on the campus.

Work was meant to begin in 2015.

But as reported by this newspaper in November, all that now lies in ruins after Aventa became caught up with a controversial project in Wales to build a new race track called the Circuit of Wales.

Unable to pay its debts, which stand at almost £2.9m, Aventa’s creditors agreed on Thursday to support it being put into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which would give Aventa ten years to pay the money back and stop it going into liquidation.

Land off the A10 at Downham Market where the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CFake) was meant to be built. Photo: ArchantLand off the A10 at Downham Market where the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CFake) was meant to be built. Photo: Archant

A fund manager called Michael Carrick is Aventa’s sole director and shareholder.

Among those firms owed money is a company registered in Brundall called Kaimai which is owed more than £90,000.

Kaimai is owned by the man who led the Downham Market project, John Beer.

Mr Beer said he and his company were engaged by Aventa to develop the CFake project but had no financial links to Aventa or the Circuit of Wales scheme.

He said the money was owed for “expenses and external consultancy”.

A Norwich firm called Oneonone Communications is also owed £58,000 by Aventa. It promoted the CFake scheme.

Rob Davies from Oneonone Communications confirmed they had agreed to the CVA and had stopped doing work for Aventa last year.

Aventa was formed in 2011 to invest in infrastructure projects, but the schemes it has been involved in have failed.

The firm was given £9.3m of taxpayers’ money by the Welsh Government for the Circuit of Wales race track.

But the project never went ahead and the Welsh Government refused to give any more money.

The CVA papers said that decision was “unexpected”, but it went on to claim that the race track could still go ahead, meaning Aventa would be able to pay its debts.

Mr Carrick has been contacted for comment. He said in November Aventa was no longer involved in CFake.

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