Ploughcroft shock but boss vows to return

PENTAX Digital Camera
PENTAX Digital Camera

A BUSINESSMAN has spoken of his fall from grace and his determination to fight back.

Fifteen staff at Ploughcroft Building Services Ltd, Brighouse, headed by Chris Hopkins, are redundant after the firm was put in administration.

The company’s assets were last week transferred to a new company - Ploughcroft Ltd - headed by Mr Hopkins.

It marks a dramatic shift in fortune for Mr Hopkins who last year was the toast of the solar industry.

His renewable energy business won the backing of business giants Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis when he appeared on TV’s Dragon’s Den.

They left the business in May.

He was also received the Yorkshire and Humber Award for Entrepreneur of the Year by the Institute of Directors.

But, unpredictable and sudden cuts in the feed-in tariff forced the business collapse.

Mr Hopkins said: “Believe me it hurts and this is not what I envisaged. It’s the hardest decision in a businessman’s life when you have to tell staff which have been loyal to you that they are no longer employed.

“But I do know how to pick myself up and move forward.”

He will work from his Hipperholme home as a one-man band but will have access to the 120 sub-contractor solar installers who qualified through a training centre he set up.

Mr Hopkins said he had lost a lot of money over recent months as he tried to keep his business afloat.

“I started out as a roofer 20 years ago and I am adamant to retain my credibility in this industry,” he said.

He remains a member of the Government’s Construction Board.