PLANS for a new food court at the Brunel Centre have been dealt a huge blow after the scheme's main restaurant provider went into administration.

CPL Food Group Ltd had signed up to take on five of the 11 units at The Crossing when it opens next month.

But last month it was acknowledged that the company was facing serious financial difficulties and administrators were called in.

Now, just a month before opening, the only confirmed occupant in the 16,000 sq ft, 200 seater food court is a tea room selling cakes and sandwiches.

CPL was due to run Burger King, El Taco Loco (a Mexican street food restaurant), Roosters Southern Fried Chicken, Real Cafe and The Street Food Kitchen - a five stall market offering regularly changing food including Thai, Belgian waffles and Indian-inspired cuisine.

The company already operates similar set-ups at other shopping centres around the UK and their decision to sign on to The Crossing was heralded as a great milestone by the Brunel management team as building got underway last year.

The Adver understands that while CPL's existing restaurants are continuing to operate in the hope a buyer can be found for the firm, new projects such as The Crossing are less likely to continue.

Bosses at the Brunel Centre are putting a brave face on the development, but the loss of an experienced partner so close to the planned opening date is undoubtedly a significant set back.

In December last year it was claimed that deals were being finalised on five other units but so far no more names have been confirmed.

Bernard Ferris, Head of Retail Property at FI Real Estate Management which runs the Brunel, said: “We can confirm that CPL Food Group, the company that operates some of the restaurant brands due to open at the new food hub at The Brunel in Swindon, has gone into administration.

“As a result, we are now talking to CPL’s administrators to assess the situation.

“Although this is disappointing, other businesses unaffected by this situation will be opening as planned and we will shortly be announcing further names that we expect to open in June.

“We continue to receive much interest in The Crossing from the market and it represents an exciting addition to The Brunel shopping centre so we are confident that if CPL is unable to continue with their plans other operators will grasp the opportunity.

“Building works at The Crossing are continuing as planned, including the installation of a new escalator from Canal Walk in June.”

Adminstrators Alix Partners were approached in relation to this story but said they were unable to comment for commercial reasons. InSwindon also declined to comment.