Sir William Francis claims more than £635k for consultancy work but construction firm denies the claim

Ardmore Construction is being taken to court by the former head of Tarmac in a row over fees.

Sir William Francis, the former chief operating officer of Tarmac plc and former director of Trafalgar House plc, accuses the company of failing to pay his consultancy fees for work on a development site in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton.

According to a claim at the Technology and Construction Court he is suing for more than £635,000 and argues that the company breached its contract with him.

He argues that Ardmore had agreed to pay him 20% of any grants approved through his efforts involving the site, according to a High Court writ.

Sir William, who is now 85, says he carried out work to obtain grants for the site, and planning consent was granted in March 2004.

Some months earlier, Ardmore had decided not to claim the grants, because it did not want to disrupt the rents payable by tenants whose leases still had some years to run, it is claimed.

The two sides changed the agreement so that he would receive 20% of the increase in value of the site over its original purchase price up to the second quarter of 2005, the writ says.

But although the company paid him £50,000 in three post dated cheques in October 2005, it has refused to pay him any more, according to the writ.

Sir William, a former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, says the company owes him the balance of £490,500, as well as interest of £145,780, and continuing interest of £107.51 a day.

Ardmore has rejected the claims.