ALMOST 70 people are set to lose their jobs following the collapse of a building firm that worked on some major local developments.

Most of the people employed by Drew Construction have already been made redundant as a result of the company going into administration.

Nigel Price, one of the joint administrators, last night confirmed that the company had employed 69 people.

He added: "Just under 60 have already been made redundant but about 10 have been retained for the time being to help us do what needs to be done.

"Some of the guys made redundant have already found new jobs, which is obviously good news."

Mr Price confirmed that the administrators were hoping to sell parts of the business but said the company as a whole was unlikely to be sold as a going concern.

He said the 110-year-old business had made losses. "They were incurred not necessarily in the recent past but over the longer term, and the situation may not have been fully addressed," he said.

Mr Price also warned that local businesses owed money by Drew Construction were unlikely to be fully reimbursed.

The administration process, which is being carried out by West Midlands insolvency specialists Elwell, Watchorn and Saxton, is likely to take up two years.

Drew was founded in 1908 to build homes in the New Forest.

Over the decades it worked with a wide variety of clients across the south, including schools, colleges and housing associations such as Sovereign.

High-profile projects have included Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre, Marwell Zoo's £8 million Tropical House and a new STEM Centre at Brockenhurst College.

In March the company was honoured by the National Federation of Builders, receiving a "highly commended" in the New Build Project of the Year category following the conversion of the old sorting office in Albert Road, Bournemouth, into 83 flats.

Cllr David Hawkins, a former town mayor of New Milton, has voiced his surprise at the company's collapse.

Speaking shortly after it was revealed that it had gone into administration he said: "I'd never have thought in a month of Sundays that anything like this would happen.

"The company has built an awful of New Milton and still owns quite a bit of land in the area."